The 2015 Fish 2.0 Competition: A Chance for Seafood Businesses to Build on Investor Interest

  • Monica Jain
  • January 21, 2015

Three years ago, when I first started asking investors why they didn’t put more money into seafood ventures, many told me that there just weren’t enough strong businesses out there to warrant the time and energy of adding seafood to their portfolios. At the same time, seafood businesses complained that there were not enough interested investors out there. They said that without investment, new ventures were not worth building and existing ventures could not continue to grow.

These comments led to the genesis of Fish 2.0, a business competition that connects seafood businesses and interested investors. More than half of the 21 business finalists from the 2013 competition report significant business growth as a result of participating.

Now, just 15 months later, when I talk with investors about the 2015 competition, I hear a different story.

Instead of having to convince investors that they will see quality investments that fit in their food systems, technology, or supply chain logistics portfolios, we simply invite them to participate. They are enthusiastic about joining us. They know that the Fish 2.0 process pools top, interesting businesses in the sector, businesses that are worth taking the time to review seriously. As a result, the 2015 competition has the support of a broad range of investor, foundation and corporate sponsors.

This breadth reflects the diversity of investors who are now paying attention to the growth potential of the seafood sector. Their interest also means we can have a bigger competition this year.

The 2015 competition is open to businesses from around the world. We now offer tracks for businesses ranging from pre-revenue start-ups to established growth companies that are scaling. A total of 36 finalists will attend the competition finals at Stanford University to formally pitch their ideas and network with investors.

As a statement of their interest in the sector, sponsors have placed $180,000 in awards on the table for the top businesses, and will cover travel costs for finalists to attend the event.

We are also excited about the diversity of interests coming together for the 2015 competition because each of our sponsors brings specific interests and expertise to the events. Each looks for strong businesses that fit into their existing portfolios or that accelerate business growth around specific issue areas.

  • For example, Humanity United, through its Freedom Fund, aims to eliminate human rights violations across the globe and is concerned about of the use of slave labor in the seafood industry, Through Fish 2.0, Humanity United wants to foster new business innovations that will create profits and improve social practices throughout Thai farmed shrimp and shrimp feed supply chains.
  • Aqua-Spark invests in sustainable profitable aquaculture businesses including companies that improve aquaculture feeds or create other novel aquaculture technologies. Fish 2.0 fits as part of their larger effort to build a portfolio of aquaculture investments that will help feed the world and generate returns....[Click here for the full article]

What people are saying about Fish 2.0

  • Mitchell Presser - Freshfields US and Investor in Ag Tech
    Fish 2.0 is a fantastic forum, bringing together innovative and cutting edge ideas for the future of our most efficient source of animal protein
    - Mitchell Presser, Freshfields US and Investor in Ag Tech
  • Amy Novogratz - Aqua-Spark
    We really value participating in Fish 2.0 as both sponsors and judges — it has expanded and strengthened our network.
    - Amy Novogratz, Aqua-Spark
  • Brock Mansfield - Salmon Innovation Fund
    Participating in Fish 2.0 as a judge, mentor and investor has made connecting easy, at both the local and global level.
    - Brock Mansfield, Salmon Innovation Fund
  • Andrew Beebe - Obvious Ventures
    Fish 2.0 is a homerun event. The quality of entrepreneurs, co-investors and corporate players in attendance is off the charts. I can’t recommend it more highly.
    - Andrew Beebe, Obvious Ventures
  • Mike Velings - Aqua-Spark
    Fish 2.0 has brought us really interesting deals to look at, gives a good sense of challenges and opportunities in the global seafood sector, and is always a great time.
    - Mike Velings, Aqua-Spark
  • Frank McGrath - Oberon Securities
    Fish 2.0 shows my investor base vetted, prepped organizations at sane expectations and valuations.
    - Frank McGrath, Oberon Securities
  • Leigh Moran - Calvert Foundation
    Fish 2.0 is unique amongst business competitions in that investors are ready to invest and competitors actually get investment! That is all too rare in many business competitions
    - Leigh Moran, Calvert Foundation
  • Kate Danaher - RSF Social Finance
    Working with Fish 2.0 as an online judge and advisor has given us amazing exposure to great companies/pipeline but more importantly it has given us the opportunity to educate ourselves on the sector.
    - Kate Danaher, RSF Social Finance
  • Dane Chauvel - Organic Ocean Seafood
    Fish 2.0 helped us grow our business, but more importantly, it helped us optimize our business. We are doing more, and doing it better. I don’t believe we would have gotten here as quickly if we had not gone through the Fish 2.0 planning exercise.
    - Dane Chauvel, Fish 2.0 2013 Finalist (Canada)
  • Roxanne Nanninga - Tru Fish
    This was a great opportunity to pitch to a very relevant group of people. I made some very valuable connections.
    - Roxanne Nanninga, Fish 2.0 2015 Finalist (USA)
  • Sherry Flummerfelt - Monterey Bay Fisheries Trust
    I made some excellent connections, learned so much, and feel like our organization has grown considerably as a result of participating in Fish 2.0.
    - Sherry Flummerfelt, Fish 2.0 2015 Finalist (USA)
  • Mitchell Lench - Treetops Capital
    Awareness about sustainable seafood continues to rise, and impact investors want to support new initiatives in this arena, but it’s hard to find them. It was useful to see so many different types of sustainable seafood companies all in one place.
    - Mitchell Lench, Treetops Capital
  • Emmanuelle Bourgois - FairAgora
    Fish 2.0 competition has been a unique learning experience. It shaped the idea from a concept to a robust business model, boosted confidence in my entrepreneurship skills and is the real starting point of this amazing and innovative adventure.
    - Emmanuelle Bourgois, Fish 2.0 2015 Competitor (Thailand)
  • Alfred Kalontas - Alfa Fishing
    Fish 2.0 helped me understand my brand better. It helped me refine my business structure to represent my business brand.
    - Alfred Kalontas, Fish 2.0 2015 Finalist (Vanuatu)
  • Diane Durance - Harvest Food & Fisheries
    As a semi-finalist in 2013, I experienced first-hand how important it is to get your venture in front of investors who are knowledgeable and interested in your field. Fish 2.0 is the organization making that possible for entrepreneurs in aquaculture and sustainable fisheries.
    - Diane Durance, Fish 2.0 2013 Semi-finalist (USA)
  • Mike Betts - AgFunder
    Fish 2.0 provided a huge amount of value to the investor community in really getting exposure for and curating companies, that is super valuable. It's one of the best I have been to in the food and ag sector. Everything from the quality of the attendees and companies, the content, the engagement.
    - Mike Betts, AgFunder (USA)
  • What I liked about Fish 2.0 was
    the high-quality content and very well curated line-up of companies.
    - Investor, Fish 2.0 2015
  • Kelly Harrell - Alaska Marine Conservation Council
    For those in the fisheries world, Fish 2.0 has quickly become the go-to place for those interested in advancing cutting-edge business models focused on the triple-bottom line of social, environmental, and economic impact.
    - Kelly Harrell, Fish 2.0 2015 Finalist (USA)
  • Dr. Karsidete Teeranitayatarn - Green Innovative Biotech
    This made my company grow up and served as a springboard. We received interest and collaboration from around the world, including Fiji, Northern Canada, Alaska, Marshall Island, and venture capitalists from Silicon Valley.
    -Dr. Karsidete Teeranitayatarn, Fish 2.0 2015 Finalist (Thailand)
  • David Stover - Bureo
    It makes you kind of step back and look at what's actually going on, ... question what path are you on, where are we going ... in that sense, it's an extremely valuable process to kind of put things on paper and take a look at it.
    - David Stover, Fish 2.0 2015 Finalist (Chile)
  • Brett Haywood - Sea Quest Group
    Helped us look within and be able to convey our positive impacts, whether its socially, environmentally or resource based, and convey this to our markets and partners.
    - Brett Haywood, Fish 2.0 2015 Finalist (Fiji)
  • Andriet Tilfas - Hapmak Market
    It helped me connect with a lot of new business people around the world. Not only to help with our small scale in a remote island but to expand services because there are a lot of opportunities out there.
    - Andriet Tilfas, Fish 2.0 2015 Competitor (Micronesia)
  • This is the most professional event I’ve attended in this sector.
    - Investor, Fish 2.0 2015
  • Alan Lovewell - Local Catch Monterey Bay
    Fish 2.0 is a great way to expand your network. We learned about other fish businesses and opportunities for collaboration--that exposure is very hard to do on your own.
    - Alan Lovewell, Fish 2.0 2013 Finalist (USA)
  • Gary Ullstrom - Kuterra
    It’s not just a seminar, it’s the real thing – you’re pitching to real people with real money.
    - Gary Ullstrom, Fish 2.0 2013 Finalist (Canada)
  • Kit Barron - CapLog Group
    Fish 2.0 takes the fish by the fins and creates a much needed mechanism through which the right industry experience, innovative thinkers and financial backing can come together to move new ideas in seafood to market.
    - Kit Barron, CapLog Group, LLC and Fish 2.0 2013 Advisor
  • Ed Robinson - Acadia Harvest
    All the people we dealt with on the Fish 2.0 team were great to work with. We’d have no hesitation to do it again.
    - Ed Robinson, Fish 2.0 2013 Semi finalist and 2015 Finalist (USA)
  • Hoyt Peckham - SmartFish
    It changed the way I prepare for all sorts of investor interactions, and it greatly improved our success.
    - Hoyt Peckham, Fish 2.0 2013 Semi-finalist (Mexico)
  • Gary Beatty - Inland Shrimp Company
    People found us through the media around Fish 2.0 – people who want to have shrimp locally have gone out of their way to contact us.
    - Gary Beatty, Fish 2.0 2013 Semi-finalist (USA)