Startup Spotlight

Startup's next-gen platform cultivates customised microalgae on demand

By Nikki Hancocks

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags Startup company microalgae

A marine ingredient start-up is tapping into the 'immense potential of marine supercrops’ with its next-gen platform for cultivating customised, pharmaceutical grade microalgae on demand.

Israel-based Yemoja​ was founded three years ago by a team of marine biology and biotech experts with a shared vision of using high-precision fast-track photobioreactor technology to create a prodigious range of high-value microalgae species that can be tailored to a range of applications, including cosmeceuticals and nutraceuticals.

Yemoja cultivated microalgae can be tailored to desired nutritional compounds and functionalities. The startup can produce algae-centered ingredients standardised to any bioactive compound or algae extract encompassing fucoxanthins​, polysaccharides, xanthophylls​, carotenoids, enzymes, and more.

Eyal Shalmon, CEO of Yemoja, says: “There is a vast ocean of microalgae species not yet discovered, and only a dozen or so are commercially available.

“The market is still in the early stages of tapping into the immense potential of these marine ‘supercrops’. Our mission is to boost the entire microalgae value chain with new varieties and yields, and bring them to the mainstream of high-end nutraceutical food and cosmeceutical spheres with additional formulations in the pipeline.”

Erez Ashkenazi COO and co-founder of Yemoja, adds: “Yemoja’s patented technology evolved from a deep-rooted appreciation of biopharma and marine sciences, supported by extensive experience in algae cultivation.

“This unprecedented capacity was collectively harnessed to produce a variety of pure algae at any scale, and in a short time — something the microalgae market has not witnessed until now.”

Yemoja’s intensive cultivation methodology overcomes many of the industry’s hurdles, specifically compositional homogeneity, scalability, and contamination proofing, ensuring clean, safe microalgae throughout the process.

The startup operates an indoor, high-precision, contaminant-free closed cultivation system that maintains absolute control of key parameters such as temperature, pH, light, and CO2​ emissions, and allows for the simultaneous growth of multiple species in a very tightly controlled environment.

This ensures consistent supply of highly standardised specialty ingredients and offers new capabilities to meet the specific needs of suppliers.

The team has already raised US$4 million in seed funds and investments from the Israel Innovation Authority and is currently moving into Round B funding.


Amikam Bar-Gil, CTO and co-founder of Yemoja, explains that part of the startup's vision is to change the algae-based industry towards full sustainability.

Their facility preserves natural resources and recycles every drop of water back into the production process and the extraction process is done without gas or fume emissions. 

“Microalgae are sunlight-driven, single-celled factories, and by nature highly resilient and versatile," ​explains Bar-Gil.

“They also are a powerful source of natural, vegan, bioactive ingredients. Our innovative approach serves to create pure, sustainable microalgae-derived products of the highest quality, and that can be naturally adapted into any desired matrix.”

Health benefits

Microalgae is often utilised within nutraceuticals for its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory characters can be useful for several therapeutic methods.

The plant contains various nutritious and bio-active compounds​ ​capable of preventing or curing various acute and chronic diseases.

It is also the only true vegetarian source of EPA and/or DHA omega-3 (people sometimes get confused by flax, chia, etc. which are a source of ALA). 

This powerful plant has also been studied for its potential ability to reduce the symptoms of IBS​.

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