A diverse group of 69 promising seafood businesses has moved on to the semifinal round of Fish 2.0, a global business competition that connects sustainable fishing and aquaculture businesses with potential investors.
The semifinalists reflect the competition’s global reach: competitors from North America, the Pacific and Oceania, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe and the Middle East, Africa, and Asia earned scores high enough to propel them to the next stage. Fish 2.0 judges—all investors and business leaders—provided every entrant with feedback, so even the 38 who did not move on received valuable advice about building their business.
Competition doubles in size
The 2015 Fish 2.0 competition is twice the size of the inaugural 2013 competition, due mostly to growth in international entries. Only about 25 percent of 2013 semifinalists were from outside North America; this year, nearly 50 percent are. The Fish 2.0 team attributes that growth to workshops and media outreach across the Pacific as well as in Thailand and Japan. There are 14 semifinalists from the Pacific and Oceania, for example, and there were none in 2013.
The semifinalists are more diverse in other ways as well. This year’s competition sought entries in three tracks based on the business’s stage of development, which attracted growth companies in addition to start-ups. The result is a greater range of company sizes and investment opportunities. Competitors are seeking debt or equity funding ranging from less than $500,000 to more than $3 million. The semifinalists also represent the full range of Fish 2.0 focus areas, including aquaculture, wild catch, technology, consumer products, aquaponics, and right-based management. Technology is at the center of many ventures.
Investors have varied opportunities
“The greater reach and diversity of this year’s competition showcases the variety of opportunities now available to investors interested in this field, ranging from small investments in island-community fishery businesses to larger investments in emerging technologies and aquaculture production,” says Monica Jain, Fish 2.0 founder and executive director.
The semifinalists are now working to demonstrate their growth and impact potential, with the help of business and sustainability advisors. In early September, Fish 2.0 will name 36 finalists, who will pitch their businesses to panels of investors at the Fish 2.0 Finals Nov. 11–12 at Stanford University.
About Fish 2.0
The Fish 2.0 business competition builds the knowledge and connections needed to increase investment in the sustainable seafood sector. Competitors improve their business models and learn how to approach investors, and investors gain early access to new deals and learn how sustainable seafood can help build their portfolios. This year, businesses from around the world will compete for over $180,000 in cash prizes, and 36 finalists will present their ideas to investors. Find more information at www.fish20.org.
Sandra Stewart, Thinkshift Communications