They’re throwing their money into the ocean, for good reason. Here’s where it’s washing up.
Four seafood companies landed sizeable investments in the past few months. New funds are being formed. More than 100 investors are volunteering their time to help businesses in the Fish 2.0 competition leap forward. A movie star just took a seat on the board of a seafood startup.
It all makes sense. Investing in seafood is a bet on continued rising demand for a healthy, sustainable protein that a rapidly growing world population wants to eat.
And now a new generation of seafood entrepreneurs is breaking open the industry.
Well-connected industry insiders have long seen the strength in seafood (and invested accordingly), but doors have been closed to the broader investment community. Traditional businesses in the sector are family or privately owned, and public information about deals and business fundamentals has been scant. But today’s seafood innovators are seeking capital from a range of investors, and they offer ample exit options. Many will get snapped up by larger public or private food companies, and some have the potential go public themselves.
In just the four deals below, over $75 million in capital flowed to growing seafood companies at various stages of development:
- Portland, Oregon–based Fishpeople closed a $12 million Series B round in June led by Advantage Capital Agribusiness Partners and a raft of sustainability-focused investors. The growth capital will help Fishpeople (motto: fear no fish) expand selection and distribution of its sustainably sourced seafood kits, fillets and soups.
- In March, Colorado-based Love the Wild boosted its Series A round to $3 million by adding funding from individual investors — among them actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio, who also joined the company’s advisory board. Love the Wild aims to change the way Americans view seafood through sustainably farmed fish packaged with delicious complementary sauces.
- Chile-based Geomar, an established “shore to shelf” sustainable seafood company that buys directly from artisanal fishers and sells internationally, netted $10 million in February from Pescador Holdings. Pescador is a newly formed collaboration between Encourage Capital and Zoma Capital (the family investment office of Ben and Lucy Ana Walton) billed as “the first-ever sustainable seafood investment holding company.”
- Also in June, Protix, a Netherlands-based company that makes insect-based feed for aquaculture and other markets, closed a €45 million investment led by Aqua-Spark (which is also planning an aquaculture fund just for Africa) and joined by Rabobank, BOM and private investors.