Wasabi Iceland just announced a ~$380,000 (~50 million ISK) seed round of equity financing by a consortium of private investors. The company will set up their production facilities in Egilsstaðir in the east of Iceland.
The company, which participated in Startup Reykjavik 2015, aims at growing wasabi both for Icelandic consumption and export. The first harvest is planned for 2017 and Wasabi Iceland has already signed a deal with restaurants Grillmarket and Fishmarket about supplying the restaurants with wasabi. The company declined to comment on the expected size of their first harvest or details of the deal.
Wasabi is probably most well known as the green paste you get with your Sushi. Interestingly, most sushi places don’t serve real wasabi, but instead a paste made of horseradish, mustard and food colouring. Real wasabi is a rare, expensive crop, which is what Ragnar Atli Tómasson and Johan Sindri Hansen, founders of Wasabi Iceland, want to capitalise on. A quick Google search reveals retail prices of up to $170 for 1/2 kg.
Ragnar and Johan are both graduates from the University of Iceland, with a degree in mechanical and industrial engineering. The idea for the company came up in school and one of their final projects was an analysis of a wasabi production in Iceland. They then applied to Startup Reykjavik and got accepted there.