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Umaro

umaroBeth Zotter and Amanda Stiles hope the Sharks bite on Umaro, their bacon made from seaweed protein, in Shark Tank episode 1318. Zotter is a former tech entrepreneur who worked for a seaweed-based biofuels startup. Stiles has a PhD in plant biochemistry. The women believe seaweed is the protein source of the future. It is a highly sustainable source of protein and it requires no fertilizer or fresh water. It also absorbs large amounts of carbon dioxide, and is high-yielding. Stiles says a seaweed farm that covered an area around the size of Massachusetts would yield enough protein to replace all beef consumed worldwide.

The women are also building technology that will allow seaweed farming to grow to the point of becoming the most productive and planet-friendly source of protein on earth. Most of their research is done in the San Francisco Bay area. They are also planning the first generation of mass seaweed farming in the Gulf of Maine. They don’t have a product for sale yet, but they plan to have their bacon available to the food service industry by the end of 2022.

Stiles and Zotter focus on red seaweed because it is high protein and, when processed, has a meat like color and texture. The Department of Energy is funding some of their research since seaweed can also be used as fuel. In March, 2022, they received $3 million in venture funding from Alexandria Venture Investments, Impact Science Ventures, Ponderosa Ventures, Clear Current Capital, Ahimsa Foundation, and Sustainable Food Ventures. This occurred one week before the original air date for Shark Tank. Whether they catch a Shark or not, this company is going places.

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Video (Umaro is at 34 minute mark)

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Umaro Foods – Vegan Bacon

Umaro Shark Tank Recap

Beth and Amanda enter the Shark Tank seeking $500,000 for 2% of their businessThey explain their seaweed protein venture and the benefits of harvesting sea weed as a protein source. Next, they introduce their bacon and the Sharks try it out. Robert says it doesn’t really taste like bacon. Mark thinks it does. The Sharks all like it in the BLTs provided. The two women explain their backgrounds and mission. Both have experience with seaweed: Beth with seaweed as fuel and Amanda with seaweed as food.

They have multiple patents on their technology and they are pre-revenue. Cost to produce is $7.30 per pound but they can bring it down to $5.20. They sell to distributors for $12.60 and food service companies for $18.99. Future plans include seaweed pepperoni and salami and other imitation cured meats.

Robert doesn’t like the valuation and he wants to know how they’ll differentiate; he’s out. Emma says they’re impressive, but she doesn’t like the valuation; she’s out. Kevin offers $500,000 for 8%. They counter with 8% for $1 million and Mark says “I’ll do that deal.” After a break, Lori tries to get in on the deal. She calls them badass women. She offers $500,000 for 4% if she stays undiluted during the next fundraising round. Lori pitches hard and they ask Mark if he’ll go to $1 million for 7%. Mark agrees.

Umaro Shark Tank Update

The Shark Tank Blog constantly provides updates and follow-ups about entrepreneurs who have appeared on the Shark Tank TV show. The first re-run of this episode in July, 2022, airs just four months after the original air date. As of this time, the deal with Mark has not closed. Since the original air date, the company has their bacon in Sorrell Restaurant in San Francisco, The Egg Shop in New York City and D’Andrews Bakery in Nashville. In the second half of 2022, Beth and Amanda will expand further into food service markets and they hope to be in grocery stores “soon.”

In September, 2022, the company announced the NBA star Chris Paul invested in the business. At this point they’re in a total of 17 restaurants and Paul’s investment will help them grow that footprint. The Shark Tank Blog will follow-up on Umaro & Beth Zotter and Amanda Stiles as more details become available.

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