AIB Seed Capital Fund and Western Investment Fund are leading an investment into Galway-based Algae Health to allow the company to commercialise for the export market.
Algae Health cultivates microalgae for the extraction of health and nutritional compounds. Its initial product is Astaxanthin, a substance which is found in wild fish.
The high anti-oxidant content of Astaxanthin is said by the company to ‘clean and revitalise’ cells in the body and is also ‘important’ for brain and eye health.
The €1 million (£854,000) funding also includes support from the state agency Udaras Na Gaeltachta and will allow Algae Health to create five new ‘high value’ biotechnology jobs in the next 12 months ahead of a planned 23 new hires inside three years.
New backers the AIB Seed Capital Fund is co-managed by Enterprise Equity Venture Capital, while Western Investment Fund is managed by the Western Development Commission.
Algae Health managing director Edward McHugh says that the business is ‘thrilled’ to achieve the required level of funding to commercialise the business, especially in the current economic conditions.
He adds, ‘This funding will bring us to a self-sustaining position. We already have a strong customer pipeline and are really looking forward to years ahead.’
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Algae Health was set-up in late 2009 and, following three years of research and development, developed its proprietary cultivation technology. This technology is said by the company to enable the ‘optimal control’ of the cultivation conditions, maximising yield, and allowing the process to happen at a far lower cost than traditional methods.
Eric Reed, partner at Enterprise Equity, comments, ‘Algae Health has great potential to generate significant exports from Ireland using a unique and innovative manufacturing process at a very competitive cost.’
Algae Health is exploiting the natural resources of the Western region of Ireland in a sustainable manner and creating high tech jobs, says Western Development Commission investment manager Gillian Buckley.