GLOBAL - More than 15 corporate industry leaders, investors, and philanthropists, including Pentair, CEI, Google Oceans Program, and RSF Social Finance, have joined together to launch the new Fish 2.0 business competition this week.
Fish 2.0 connects investors with business leaders in fisheries, aquaculture, and seafood supply chains.
It offers seafood businesses an opportunity to gain visibility, find strategic partners, and ultimately garner new investments in the range of $100,000 to over $10 million. The breadth of sponsors involved in this year’s competition reflects a growing interest in the seafood sector among investors with expertise in technology, supply chain operations, and food systems. Both established companies and early stage enterprises can apply through the Fish 2.0 website (http://www.fish20.org).
“Investors see rising demand for sustainable seafood products and an industry that is ripe for innovation,” says Monica Jain, Fish 2.0 founder.
“Many in the seafood sector see these opportunities too. They have plans to grow their businesses and reach new markets—but they struggle to identify the right investors. Fish 2.0 connects these groups.”
Investors come to Fish 2.0 with a variety of interests, ranging from supply chain logistics to community development. Fish 2.0 offers them a chance to learn more about the seafood sector and meet emerging leaders in the industry.
“We have a 35-year history of investing in fisheries and aquaculture, and we have seen both financial and impact performance from these deals,” explains Dick Clime of CEI, a community investment institution in Maine and a sponsor of Fish 2.0.
“Fish 2.0 helps us see a large number of new, quality businesses in one place.” “We believe sustainable aquaculture will play a big role in the future of food production globally,” added Todd Gleason, Senior Vice President of Growth for Pentair, a global company with $7 billion in revenue that is also a sponsor through its Foundation.
“We’re excited to support the growth of innovation in the sector.”
During the 2013 competition, 160 businesses applied and 21 finalists presented to a room of over 100 investors. Many of these companies report great growth in the past year.
“Fish 2.0 is the best thing I’ve ever done in the context of my business,” says Dane Chauvel of Organic Ocean. “We exceeded revenue projections by 10 percent last year and are on track to realise a 30 per cent year-over-year increase in revenue this year. This wouldn’t have happened in the absence of Fish 2.0 – it accelerated our path and provided a networking opportunity that we never would have gained otherwise.”
In this year’s competition, businesses from around the world will compete for over $180,000 in cash prizes, and 36 finalists will present their ideas to investors during the competition finals at Stanford University.
The 2015 competition will include tracks for pre- and post-revenue, early stage ventures, as well as a track for established companies that have been generating revenue for more than three years and are scaling.
Fish 2.0 organisers urge business leaders to enter the competition via the website www.fish20.org.
They also invite investors to sign-up as competition advisors and judges to get a first-hand view of activity in the sector.
As Ms Jain explains: “In 2013, we were simply showing people that there were great business opportunities in sustainable seafood, now we’re showing people the breadth and depth of the sector – we’re excited for more businesses and investors to join us in 2015.”
TheFishSite News Desk