Macro Oceans raises $5M, completes pilot facility

Macro Oceans, the California-based seaweed biotechnology startup, announced it has completed the first phase of its pilot facility in Sacramento.

Macro Oceans sources seaweeds from Alaska and transforms them into chemicals for use in materials, food, cosmetics and other applications.

“We believe there is incredible potential for seaweed as an ultra-sustainable input for the chemical and materials industries,” said founder and CEO Matthew Perkins. “Our brand-new 12,500 sq ft facility begins to scale up our novel bioprocessing technology and allows us to offer seaweed-based chemicals to our launch customers.”

Macro Oceans’ core technology is its multi-product, zero-waste system that makes seaweed processing cost effective. 

The company processes the whole plant, using green chemistry to both preserve the bioactive compounds and produce a range of chemicals and materials.

The company, founded in 2020, also revealed it has raised $5m to date from climate tech investors Refactor Capital, Lowercarbon Capital, McKinley Capital and strategic angel investors.

New partnerships with Sway, cosmetics brands

Macro Oceans partners with several product companies to provide seaweed extracts, including R&D trials with Sway, who develop home-compostable, seaweed-based flexible packaging.

Macro Oceans is also producing bioactive ingredients for the cosmetics industry. Initial partnerships with Oh Oh Organics and The Clean Beauty Chemist Aubri Thompson will commercialize these ingredients.

Solutions to bioprocessing challenges

“Preprocessing is absolutely essential to cost-effectiveness,” said co-founder Matthew Perkins. “We’ve designed our technology from first principles to allow us to avoid drying or freezing seaweed. Instead, we stabilize it using green chemistry which allows us to store the kelp at room temperature for up to 12 months. We have also focused on process intensification to deliver superior unit economics.”

We are scoping out a variety of locations in Alaska for our first full-scale facility. As seaweed is ~90% water, we obviously want to put it as close as possible to our growers.”