EDINBURGH, Scotland — MiAlgae, a Scottish biotech startup, announced Jan. 8 it has received £1 million ($1.31 million) in investments, which it will use to commercialize its microalgae ingredient for use in global pet food and aquaculture applications.

Investments were made by four firms: Equity Gap, Scottish Investment Bank, Old College Capital and Hillhouse Group.

MiAlgae said it plans to increase its staff by five over the course of 2020, double the size of its “business premises,” and commission a demonstration facility in East Lothian (east of Edinburgh) as a result of the investment.

“The business now turns its focus to commercialization and scaling up. The global pet food market is worth $100 billion and growing at around 5%,” said Fraser Lusty, investment director at Equity Gap. “MiAlgae plans to supply customers in both the pet food market and the aquaculture industry in the next 12 months. This is an exciting business, and one to watch over the next couple of years.”

Equity Gap invested previously in MiAlgae in approximately July 2018.

MiAlgae utilizes by-products from whisky distillation processes to produce the high-nutrient microalgae, which is a sustainable solution for aquaculture and pet food ingredients. The company estimates its microalgae solution “saves up to 30 tonnes of wild fish,” equivalent to 33 US tons.

“MiAlgae has essentially taken a by-product from one industry and turned it into a solution for another industry. Through the application of biotechnology, MiAlgae is finding solutions to feed the world’s population, and with the global aquaculture industry set to double in size in the next ten years, this is a very promising business indeed,” commented Andrew Vernon of Hillhouse Group.

The biotechnology startup company was founded in 2016 by Douglas Martin while at the University of Edinburgh. Martin was supported by Edinburgh Innovation, a commercialization branch of the University, as well as Old College Capital, the University’s venture fund.

“I am really pleased that with this investment we can turn our attention to growing the business. We plan to target the pet food and aquaculture industries with our sustainable, ocean-friendly, algae-derived omega 3,” Martin said.

Kerry Sharp, director of the Scottish Investment Bank, added, “MiAlgae perfectly epitomises Scotland’s willingness to take the lead on climate-related issues. By turning the by-products of manufacturing and industrial processes into a valuable resource, they and other pioneering companies like them are completely redefining the concept of waste.”

Read more about corporate strategy, financial performance, mergers and acquisitions on our Business page.