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Student biotech startup bags USD 10 million investment from UAE firm

Kochi: A student biotech startup fostered under the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Centre (IEDC) scheme of Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) has bagged an investment of USD10 million from the UAE-based TCN International commerce L.L.C for its project, entitled “Algae –Seaweed Technology,” under the brand B-lite Cookies.

The biotech startup’s product was showcased at the GITEX 2020 international conference held in Dubai as the startup was part of the international startup delegation led by KSUM.

Zaara Biotech, which focuses on research in energy and food crisis using micro-algae, got the funding for its research and development, production, distribution, and marketing under TCN International Commerce to reach the global arena.

Mr. Najeeb Bin Haneef, Founder, and CEO of Zaara Biotech and Dr Mohamed Shafi Abdulla, Chairman and Managing Director, TCN International Commerce L.L.C, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in this regard in Sharjah on Saturday.

Dr George Ninan, Principal Scientist, Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR)-CIFT (Central Institute of Fisheries Technology), Kochi; Mr Tapan Rayaguru, CEO, KSUM; and Dr Nixon Kuruvila, Principal, Sahrdaya College of Engineering and Technology, Thrissur, among others, were present on the occasion.

Zaara Biotech was founded by Mr. Haneef when he was a biotechnology engineering student of Sahrdaya College of Engineering and Technology in 2016.

The biotech startup, which was incubated in Sahrdaya Technology Business Incubator (Sahrdaya TBI), has collaborated with ICAR-CIFT and it has helped the company to become India’s first algal-seaweed food product designer.

The team of Zaara had set up a ‘Mushroom Hub’ during their first year at the campus before foraying into their entrepreneurial venture. By designing photobioreactors using micro-algae, the biotech startup has taken great leaps in bringing India to the forefront of bioengineering. Their work has got them laurels from India and abroad.

TCN International Commerce has its presence in multiple sectors, such as IT, business process management, trading, healthcare, education, FMCG, construction and engineering, defense, critical service providers, aviation, and oil and gas.

KSUM is the nodal agency of the Kerala Government for entrepreneurship development and incubation activities in the state.

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