Nova Scotia biotech startup Mara Renewables has secured $39.5 million in what it calls the initial closing of an equity raise.
The funding round was led by Toronto venture capital firm InvestEco Capital, with follow-on investments from BDC Capital, Export Development Canada (EDC), MacKinnon, Bennett & Company Inc. (MKB), Thai Union Ingredients Co (Thai Union) and existing investors.
Mara’s CEO said that the new investment will help the startup further expand new research and development initiatives into commercial products.
Mara’s $39.5 million financing, which closed earlier this month, represents one of the largest funding rounds raised by an Atlantic Canadian startup so far this year.
The region previously saw financing rounds with a higher amount, such as Fredericton-headquartered Introhive’s $121.3 million CAD Series C; and St. John’s-based Verafin closing $515 million CAD in equity and debt recapitalization in 2019.
Mara said it expects to complete a second closing in the coming month with Clear Creek Investments.
Founded in 2012 by Clearwater Seafoods co-founder and billionaire John Risley, Dartmouth-based Mara is a manufacturer of Omega-3-rich algae-based bio-products.
With over 20 researchers, Mara is focused on the research, development, and commercialization of sustainable and natural algal biotechnologies for human nutrition and related industries.
According to Mara, its algal oil product can be used for children’s formula, nutritional supplements, and other food applications. In 2020 alone, the company said it supplied enough DHA-rich fatty acids to the supplement, food, and beverage markets to offset an estimated $7.36 billion fish (anchovy).
Arturo Ania, CEO of Mara, said that the new investment will help the startup to continue its “aggressive” growth trajectory and further expand new research and development initiatives into commercial products.
“We are certain that the expertise added around our investor and board table will allow us to … expand our Omega-3, protein and other ingredient platforms to become world-changing solutions,” Ania added.
Ania was appointed to lead Mara as CEO in May last year. He previously served as the global head of agriculture, food, and beverage at DuPont Sustainable Solutions, and was the founder of the Private Equity and ESG practice.
Mara is only one of a number of fisheries-related companies that Risley founded, including Ocean Nutrition, which also produced Omega 3 health products and dietary supplements made from fish oil.
Ocean Nutrition was later sold for $540 million in 2012 to Dutch multinational company DSM.
Featured image from Mara Renewables’ website.