New Seed Funding Fuels Wanda Fish’s Quest To Cultivate Bluefin Tuna


Israeli food tech startup, Wanda Fish Technologies, has successfully raised $7 million in seed funding to accelerate the production of cultivated bluefin tuna. This innovative approach involves creating animal proteins from cells without the need for slaughtering the animals. Utilizing a bioreactor and fermentation techniques similar to the process of brewing beer, Wanda Fish aims to produce whole-cut cultivated fish filets that replicate the texture, flavor, and nutritional value of wild-caught fish.

Key Takeaway

Wanda Fish Technologies has secured $7 million in seed funding to accelerate the production of cultivated bluefin tuna, offering a sustainable and contamination-free alternative to wild-caught fish.

Daphna Heffetz, the co-founder and CEO of Wanda Fish, expressed the company’s unique position in the market, stating, “We are one of the very few companies that have succeeded in making bluefin tuna, which is highly demanded and one of the tastiest fish. However, it is also one of the most contaminated ones. Many companies are trying to do this, but we will succeed based on our dynamics and the fact that we are experienced people attacking the problem from various ideas.”

Making Waves in the Alternative Seafood Industry

Wanda Fish is not alone in its pursuit of cultivated bluefin tuna. BlueNalu, another company in the field, has raised over $80 million to date and is also focusing on the premium-priced toro cut. With a projected 75% gross margin within the first year of production in its large-scale facility, BlueNalu aims to open its first commercial facility in 2027.

Founded in 2021, Wanda Fish is a collaboration between Daphna Heffetz and food tech incubator The Kitchen Hub, created by Strauss-Group. Heffetz, who holds a PhD in biochemistry, brings over 20 years of experience in biotechnology companies to the table. She is supported by Malkiel Cohen, an expert in stem cell and genomic engineering, and Yaron Sfadyah. The company has an exclusive licensing and sponsored research agreement with Tufts University and works closely with David Kaplan, a Tufts biomedical engineering professor and cellular agriculture expert.

Achieving Milestones in Production

While still in its early stages, Wanda Fish has made significant progress towards the development of a whole-cut prototype. By cultivating bluefin tuna cells and differentiating them into both muscle and fat tissues, the company has managed to create a 3D filet structure. With its proprietary technology, Wanda Fish can precisely control fat levels in its end products, enabling the eventual creation of various cuts, including the highly sought-after toro cut.

Investment and Expansion Plans

The recent funding round, led by Aqua-Spark and joined by existing investors The Kitchen Hub, Peregrine Ventures, LLC, PICO Venture Partners, MOREVC, and CPT Capital, LLP, has brought Wanda Fish’s total venture-backed funding to $10 million. The additional capital will be used to optimize the company’s technology and accelerate the scalability of its cultivated whole-cut bluefin tuna filets.

Looking ahead, Daphna Heffetz anticipates obtaining regulatory approvals from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other relevant agencies by early 2025. Wanda Fish plans to begin selling its products to restaurants in 2026. To further expedite market entry, the company intends to collaborate with major food companies for distribution, while continuing to focus on core technology development in-house.

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