Ever wonder where that farm-raised salmon on your salad comes from? Of late, the answer is increasingly aquaculture—the breeding and harvesting of fish in water.
The fish (and sometimes plants) can be raised in natural waters (pond) or manmade ones (hatchery). But choosing a body of water is one step in the entire process of aquaculture, which is on the rise in response to the over-fishing problem. With that rise comes the need to make processes more efficient, and, as usual, the answer lies in technology. A growing number of companies are starting to appear on in market as a result.
But for all its promise, the aquaculture sector has a big problem: there still isn’t a lot of investment activity, and aqua tech companies in the space lack the savvy to find the capital they need to properly test their technology.
Over in Bergen, Norway, Carsten Krome of Alimentos Ventures might have a solution.
Krome recently announced the launch of Hatch, a startup accelerator geared specifically towards aquaculture companies. The three-month program, which will get its first eight startups this spring, will take place in Bergen.
Each team will get $30,600 (USD) in addition to mentoring, development help, office space, and the chance to make new connections in the aquaculture industry. For those companies that have “high potential,” an additional loan will be available once they complete the program.
The U.S. imports about 84 percent of its seafood from aquaculture, and that’s a measly $1 billion sliver of a $70 billion global market. Worldwide, about 50 percent of fish comes from aquaculture. Meanwhile, the global market itself is expected to reach $219.42 billion by 2022. Hardware, software, biotech, and new production methods all play a part in this ecosystem, as does a rising demand for more fish from health-conscious consumers.
With the program’s launch, Krome hopes to help aquaculture companies become more investment ready, something that, as far as he’s concerned, they’re not. “I [see] a lot of good ideas presented badly,” he recently said. Hatch will help early-stage startups develop and scale their ideas and technologies, as well as connect them with the kinds of investors they’ll need to get their products to market.
Interested startups can read more about and apply to the program here. We’ll hear much more about the future of this market come this spring, when the chosen eight gather in Norway.