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Shinkei Announces $6 Million in Seed Funding for Sustainable Robotic Fish Harvesting

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Company is pioneering the automation of the ike jime fish processing technique, enhancing the shelf-life, flavor, and throughput of fish.

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., April 29, 2024-- Shinkei is pioneering a commercial fish processing technology and today announced $6 million in new seed funding for the launch of its modern system that merges machine learning, robotics, and centuries-old fish harvesting techniques. The round was led by Cantos, with additional participation by 8VC, Impatient Ventures, Susa/Humba Ventures, Carya Venture Partners, Ravelin Capital, Red & Blue Ventures, Undeterred Capital, and others joining existing investors.

Fish is the primary source of protein for over 3 billion people, yet over 60 percent of all fish caught in America are never actually eaten. Shinkei automates the time-tested ike jime technique of humanely processing fish, enhancing the quality, taste and shelf-life of the raw product. Importantly, fish processed using this technology remain fresh for up to three times as long as the standard harvesting methods.

"The commercial fishing industry has enjoyed many technological advances over its long history, but we believe one of the biggest advances just arrived," Saif Khawaja, Founder and CEO of Shinkei and founding member of the NFI Sushi Council, said. "Enhancing the taste, shelf-life, and overall quality of harvested fish — while at the same time boosting sustainability and eliminating waste — is a win/win for fishermen, consumers, and every step of the supply chain in between. We're thrilled to be able to bring this incredible technology to an industry that has given the world so much."

Centuries ago, skilled Japanese fishermen developed the ike jime technique to humanely kill fish and reduce stress on the animals, preventing the buildup of lactic acid and other stress derivative chemicals that quickly spoil the flesh. Harnessing the latest advancements in robotics and machine learning, Shinkei has fully automated the ike jime method, processing each fish in as little as 10 seconds. Furthermore, by harvesting the fish immediately on the boat or shore, the fish are not left to suffocate and further risk early spoilage. This approach is much more humane for the fish and more valuable and sustainable for farmers and consumers alike.

"At Shinkei, we're focusing on how robotics can bring higher quality fish to consumers in a more sustainable way," Reed Ginsberg, VP of Engineering at Shinkei, said. "This process naturally coincides with the toughest robotics problems the world is facing today. Here, we're realizing every roboticist's dream, navigating the convergence of clean-sheet mechanism design and precise motion control. We seamlessly integrate these elements with advanced autonomy and computer vision, driving innovation in the fishing industry one breakthrough at a time."

Shinkei's hardware can be fitted and integrated into most fishing gear. Shinkei is working on integration systems with high volume methods. With rapid, precise processing, fishermen can expect reliable results and the highest quality product to bring to market. In addition to wild-caught fish, Shinkei is also successfully used in commercial fish farming, and the company is presently engaged with suppliers including Local Coho, who sells to Yama Seafood, the purveyor of superior quality fish to Michelin-starred restaurants and fine dining establishments.

"Shinkei's ike jime harvesting robot was critical for LocalCoho's expansion into new markets and sales channels," Michael Fabbro, LocalCoho CEO, said. "We're thrilled with the cutting-edge technology and support Shinkei has deployed at our farm. It's allowed us to not only meet humane harvesting criteria, but it's greatly improved fish quality. We've seen improvements in texture and shelf life, and now have a more consistent product as well. In addition, our target customers are much more inclined to buy fish that have been humanely harvested – especially fish that have been harvested using ike jime. Shinkei gives us a very unique point of differentiation in the market."

Reimagining fish processing is just the first step in Shinkei's ambitious mission to fundamentally revolutionize the entire meat supply chain. The company plans to dramatically simplify the meat industry's most laborious processes with its automation technology, ultimately enhancing the quality of the most nutritionally dense food product on our planet while simultaneously reducing waste and improving overall sustainability of the food supply.

For more information, please visit Shinkei.Systems.

About Shinkei

Shinkei is transforming the world's food supply chains with the vanguard technologies of today. Harnessing centuries of fish-harvesting wisdom, the company's premiere robotic process produces a fresher, more sustainable product by eliminating waste and the stress on each fish. With built-in analytics, the system is highly scalable and can be optimized for any fishing operation.

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