Aqua-Spark invests in Finnish biotech startup, Vietnamese shrimp technology platform
Utrecht, Netherlands-based global aquaculture investment fund Aqua-Spark recently launched investments in a pair of aquaculture tech companies.
Aqua-Spark’s first investment was part of an EUR 11 million (USD 12 million) A-round in eniferBio, a Finland-based biotech startup. The A-Round was led by Aqua-Spark and joined by Tesi, Valio, Voima Ventures, and Nordic Foodtech.
The investment, eniferBio said, will help the company scale its “PEKILO” mycoprotein powder. The company has developed a fungal protein produced from the byproducts of food and agricultural processes that contains high levels carbs, fats, and minerals and according to the company has a carbon footprint “over 50 times smaller than beef’s.”
The fungus, produced through fermentation, produces a dried powder that can be used in both pet food and aquafeed. The process, enfirBio said, was originally created by forestry scientists in the 1960s to create additional revenue streams and cost-efficient animal feed protein from the pulp and paper industry.
The proprietary process can produce protein from byproducts of the agriculture, food, and forest industry, the company said.
“We are extremely excited to have our new investors Aqua-Spark, Tesi, and Valio join us on our mission to feed the world with sustainable protein,” eniferBio CEO and Cofounder Simo Ellilä said in a press release. “Together they put a huge amount of new sector-specific know-how and networks at our disposal. We’re also glad to see our long-term backers Nordic Foodtech VC and Voima Ventures double down on their bets and show their continued support for our vision.”
The company already has partnerships with major aquafeed producers, such as Skretting, the copmany added.
Aqua-Spark’s second investment, announced on 20 April, was in Vietnam-based shrimp technology company Tepbac as part of a USD 2.2 million (EUR 2 million) pre-series A-round along with AgFunder and Son Tech Investment.
Started as a media company covering the Vietnamese shrimp industry, Tepbac has grown into a Vietnamese shrimp technology platform providing farmers with internet-of-things (IoT) enabled hardware and a data-based platform. The platform digitalizes data collected by shrimp farmers, and one of its primary products, “Envisor,” provides remote water cleaning and monitoring that keeps track of pH, oxygen, temperature, and salinity.
"I started Tepbac to help shrimp farmers, first in Vietnam, and later around the world," Tepbac Cofounder Lam Nguyen said in a release. "With better tools, increased production, and improved quality, we can develop a more sustainable global aquaculture industry. The support of these investors signals the strength of our model and an important shift in the industry."
Tepbac is currently providing services to 1,500 farms, from small to large-scale, along with shrimp processing plants and the government. The funding from Aqua-Spark, Tepbac said, will help it scale its suite of technologies.
"We're immensely pleased to welcome Tepbac into our portfolio," Aqua-Spark CEO Lissy Smit said. "Tepbac's platform captured our attention because it has incredible potential to improve market access for small farmers and enable more sustainable practices, all while growing and protecting one of the largest shrimp markets in the world."
Photo courtesy of Tepbac