Obvious Ventures, Aqua-Spark and Real Ventures invest in new methods for tracking and managing aquatic populations, making aquaculture more profitable and sustainable.
XpertSea, a Canadian company which develops technologies to make aquaculture more profitable and sustainable, announced today that it has raised $10 million CAD in Series A financing. The financing is a co-investment led by Obvious Ventures and Aqua-Spark, as well as Real Ventures, which previously invested in the company’s seed round.
By 2050 our planet will be home to 10 billion people, requiring a 70% increase in food production. The aquaculture industry supplies more than half the seafood consumed worldwide and is growing at 6% per year. But the use of outdated technologies like hand-counting of aquatic organisms results in major financial losses and waste, as aquaculture producers overspend by an average of 20% in feed alone, and seafood survival rates can be as low as 50%.
XpertSea solves this technology gap so that farms and hatcheries can track and manage their aquatic populations with greater speed, accuracy and insight than ever before. XpertSea’s platform uses artificial intelligence and computer vision to count and size early-stage aquatic organisms such as shrimp larvae and live feed. The XperCount is a smart IoT device that connects to a portal where customers can access data and analytics from any device, anywhere. As of 2017, XpertSea’s customers in 48 countries have counted more than 17 billion organisms and uploaded over 100,000 counting and sizing sessions to the data portal.
“This investment will help XpertSea take the guesswork out of aquaculture inventory management, which will drive profits for aquaculture producers and deliver positive environmental returns for our planet,” said Valerie Robitaille, CEO and Co-Founder of XpertSea. “Precision aquaculture technology is the key to bringing transparency to transactions and standardizing practices across the industry, which benefits everyone along the aquaculture food chain.”
With this injection, that combines resources from a leading purpose-driven fund and a fund designed exclusively to support sustainable aquaculture, XpertSea will expand its technology offerings and continue to build its team. The company is currently hiring for positions in Quebec City, Montreal and in its international markets.
“Valerie and her team have the expertise necessary to bring transparency and efficiency at a critical time to this industry,” said Andrew Beebe, Managing Director at Obvious Ventures. “They are digitally upgrading the world of aquaculture in a way that will benefit all players – farmers, retailers, and consumers.”
“The smartest route to excellent aquaculture and healthy fish is reliable data, which has been sorely missing in the industry to date,” explained Mike Velings and Amy Novogratz, co-founders of Aqua-Spark. “Farmers can’t make accurate judgements, particularly about feed, if they don’t know the number of organisms in the water or distribution size. Aqua-Spark takes an industry-wide approach, meaning we invest across the value chain. XpertSea is the first company with a successful product to focus on smaller organisms suitable for hatcheries, which is where the farming process begins. Their ability to solve production challenges in aquaculture is limitless and makes them a key value-add for our portfolio.”