Nextgen seafood startups have raked in an astonishing US $3 billion in investment funding over the past two years, figures released by Crunchbase suggest.
The business information hub has published investment figures for 39 companies from a variety of “seafood-related” sectors, with digital platforms, alternative proteins and aquaculture firms proving to be amongst the biggest winners.
Blue food digital platforms in race to become the next “unicorn”
Topping the list is Indonesian “unicorn” startup eFishery, an aquatech startup offering integrated feeding solutions for fish and shrimp farming including a digital platform. eFishery recently made headlines after a successful Series D funding round took its valuation to US $1.4 billion, making it the first aquaculture “unicorn” and one of Indonesia’s biggest business success stories.
However, eFishery is not the only contender in Indonesia’s aquatech startup scene. Hot on its heels is Aruna, another Indonesian venture offering an integrated fishery platform, which has secured USD $1 billion in funding since 2020. Meanwhile, newcomer DELOS, a third Indonesian startup focusing on integration with the global seafood market, has just completed a successful Series A funding round, but was not included in the Crunchbase figures.
Indian digital platform companies Aquaconnect and Captain Fresh also reeled in huge investments, securing US $23,639,094 and $126,530,865 respectively. Aquaconnect is a full-stack aquaculture platform that provides farm inputs, market linkage, and financial solutions. Meanwhile, Captain Fresh is a fish and seafood supply chain platform designed to deliver a fast harvest-to-retail service.
Currently focusing on the lucrative Ecuadorian shrimp industry, another major digital platform provider is XpertSea. The Canadian-based company secured US $29,211,467 in funding, according to the Crunchbase figures.
Cell-based seafoods are on the up
“Alt-protein” seafoods are another growth area, the figures suggest, with companies developing cellular or plant-based “alternative seafood” securing a total of almost US $576 million, across the 15 such companies mentioned in the Crunchbase figures.
Examples include Californian companies Finless Foods, providing cellular-agriculture technologies to create accessible plant-based and cell-cultured seafood alternatives, which secured a reported US $37,525,000 worth of investments, and Wildtype, a cellular agriculture company that develops technology for cultivating seafood, which raised US $123,543,350. Meanwhile, Germany’s Bluu Seafood, which cultivates cellular fish protein, garnered US $25,825,710.
Aquaculture and seafood producers captured the most funding
However, aquaculture producers themselves still hauled in the largest tranches of funding, according to the figures, totalling over US $1 billion across all of the aquaculture and seafood-producing companies included in the Crunchbase figures.
Kanpanchi aquaculture firm Forever Oceans is a prime example, raising over US $111 million, while Kenyan tilapia producer Victory Farms secured US $41,000,000, and Norway’s Salmon Evolution raised a total of US $71,953,744.