To avoid ag-tech’s crowded field, investors throw their lucky pennies into the ocean

After the ag-tech boom sprouted big returns, new investors are pumping money into the growing industry of aquaculture-tech.

April 20, 2018

Aqua-Spark, an investment fund dedicated solely to funding innovative fish farms, recently partnered with two other venture firms to pump $7.95m into a Canadian fish-tech company. 

As the number of hungry mouths on this planet approaches 10B, investors are looking for cheap ways to produce (and sell) food. But as ag-tech investment — $10B in 2017, up 29% from 2016 — ends up in fewer pockets, new investors are betting on the less-crowded ocean.

Land-farming is big biz, but ocean-farming is just getting rollin’ 

The $70B global aquaculture industry is only a drop in the bucket compared to the $5T food and agribusiness industry. But depleted stocks of wild marine life and technological developments are making fish farming more necessary — and rewarding — than ever before.

Since 85% of the ocean’s fish & friends are overfished, the only realistic way to put more seafood on the world’s plate is to grow it on a farm.

Enter: aqua-tech. 

XpertSea, the Canadian fish-tech startup, uses AI and computer-vision to improve the efficiency of fish-hatcheries — and was one of almost a dozen smart-fish farms to receive funding last year.

This recent hatch of fish startups focuses on reducing the cost of raising fish and increasing the yield that ends up in the seafood aisle — which has investors drooling for some sushi. 

Aquaculture already accounts for 50% of global fish consumed — up from 26% in 1994 — and will continue to increase as investors fill the tanks of aquaculture R&D departments.

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