Tru Shrimp coming to Research Park at SDSU

SDSU photo: Michael Ziebell, trū Shrimp president and CEO, announced Thursday the firm will be establishing an office at the Research Park at South Dakota State University.

Minnesota-based firm aims to create products from shrimp shells

BROOKINGS – The trū Shrimp Co. President and CEO Michael Ziebell and the Research Park at South Dakota State University CEO and Executive Director Dwaine Chapel announced Thursday a partnership they say further builds upon trū Shrimp’s commitment to South Dakota and the region. 

In January 2020, trū Shrimp will take up residency in the Brookings Innovation Center located at the Research Park at SDSU.

In addition to trū Shrimp, General Mills, Novita and Raven Industries are among the 42 firms which have offices at the Research Park at SDSU. The Brookings Innovation Center is a 43,000 square-foot startup business incubator for early stage tech and science research firms.

The primary purpose of trū Shrimp’s work in Brookings will be to further research, enhance and optimize the coproducts created as shrimp are grown. This work will begin with the shrimp shell itself, which can be processed to create a product called chitosan.

“Our shrimp production technology is proven, and we continue to learn each day at our headquarters location in Balaton, Minnesota,” Ziebell said. 

“In addition, we’re eager to add this new research capability in Brookings. Our first priority at the Research Park is commercialization of the medical-grade chitosan coproduct derived from the shrimp’s shell. The Tidal Basin technology leveraged in our system not only provides the highest quality water and perfect habitat for the shrimp, but also leads to a purity in our shells that we believe is unmatched,” Ziebell said.

“The collaborative opportunities that exist will now happen at a rapid rate. The partnership between SDSU and trū Shrimp has evolved in a positive and productive direction since our first meeting in July 2016. The Research Park provides that ‘Power of Place’ where industry and university expertise collide to create innovation,” Chapel said.

“We’ve been amazed at the opportunities and synergies for our company and this region since the moment we announced our intention to build our first harbor in Madison, South Dakota,” said Brian Knochenmus, chairman of the board at trū Shrimp. “It’s no secret that SDSU and the surrounding partners have extensive knowledge and experience in aquaculture, and we’re excited to work together to continue disrupting the shrimp industry from our platform here in the Midwest.”

Five of the 30-plus trū Shrimp employees in Balaton, Minnesota, are graduates of South Dakota State University, including the company’s chief technical officer Bruce Paterson. In addition to the full-time employees, trū Shrimp has employed five interns from SDSU in the past two years.

The trū Shrimp Company announced in January 2019 its intention to build its first full-scale shrimp harbor in Madison. 

Earlier this fall, trū Shrimp began commercially selling shrimp from its Balaton facility. 

The company is currently raising capital from regional and national investors and finalizing plans for its Madison location. No timeline is in place for building the facility, Ziebell said Thursday.