Aarhus-based startup creates protein additives from crabs


November 22, 2021

Here’s one to watch. Co-founders Happylan Natkunarajah and Leander Hessner recently took home a cash prize for their pitch of the brand new startup, DecaMeal. Now, they are developing their product and talking to customers before actively seeking funding in the near future.

DecaMeal from idea to solution

The two founders studied a master’s degree in Biology at Aarhus University together both specializing in aquatic biology. They came up with the idea for DecaMeal in the Bio Entrepreneurship course, Happylan explains:

“We got the chance to play with the idea of finding a case we were passionate about, and then try to start something from that,” explains Happylan Natkunarajah, “we had a great idea, and we got a lot of great response, so we thought, let’s try it for real!”

DecaMeal is a protein-rich feed supplement, made entirely of the common shore crab. The product contains many of the important components that go into animal feed – such as amino acids, Omega-3, and lots of protein.

“We saw a challenge because the protein used for animal feed primarily comes from soy, which is a problem both because of the destructive farming affecting the rainforest, and the transportation affecting the environment,” states Happylan.

Using crabs instead of soy solved another problem, the crabs. “They are a massive issue and are currently not used for anything. They are harmful to both fishermen’s equipment and the marine ecosystems,” elaborates Happylan.

Co-founders Leander Hessner (left) and Happylan Natkunarajah (right)

Plans for the future

This month, DecaMeal won 30.000 DKK for the best pitch at The Kitchen’s Kamstrup Pitch Competition. With the cash prize in their pocket, the two founders have a clear direction for the coming year’s work with DecaMeal.

“Our goal for this next year is to develop our product. Right now, we can reach a protein concentration of 40%, which is already higher than the necessary level for chicken feed, but we want to make it higher,” explains Happylan.

Looking a bit further, they are hoping to get investors involved, Happlylan notes, “we are also working on scaling our production with the help from investors in the future.”

“We want to start by making a local difference, but the crabs are an issue all over the world, so there really is no limit to where DecaMeal can go” ends Happylan.

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