Eight Sustainable Seafood Businesses Win Top Honors at Fish 2.0 Finals

  • November 8, 2017

Entrepreneurs from all over the world are responding to global trends driving market demand in the seafood sector and beyond

PALO ALTO, CA, November 8, 2017 — Fish 2.0 closed out its 2017 Innovation Forum today by awarding cash prizes to the eight seafood ventures earning the highest scores in this year’s Fish 2.0 business competition. The winners are simplifying supply chains while increasing income for fishers and farmers, bringing to market creative approaches to aquaculture production and traceability, and getting consumers excited about seafood.

Diverse panels of investor-judges chose the cash prize winners from among 22 presenters who came out on top in six regional and two global tracks. Judges picked the strongest business in each track based on the presenters’ 3-minute pitches and 5-minute question-and-answer sessions on stage at Stanford University. The winners by track are:

Sustainable Fishery Trade (Chile and Peru), a Lima, Peru–based social enterprise that works with artisanal fishers to provide high-quality, traceable seafood direct to restaurants.

Real Oyster Cult (New England), a Duxbury, Massachusetts, business that ships fresh oysters from all over North America direct to consumers overnight.

Didds Fishing Company (Pacific Islands), a Solomon Islands social enterprise that enables island communities to fish for premium bottom-water species offshore, relieving pressure on in-shore fisheries.

EnerGaia (Southeast Asia), a Bangkok-based company that farms spirulina, an algae superfood, on urban rooftops and in rural communities for use in a variety of food products.

Panacea Oyster Co-Op (South Atlantic and Gulf Coast Shellfish) of Spring Creek, Florida, which is restoring oyster farming in Apalachicola Bay by creating a unified brand and guaranteeing purchases to farmers.

Northline Seafoods (U.S. West Coast), an Alaska-based company whose unique floating processing facility eliminates waste and extends the shelf life of sustainable wild salmon.

ThisFish (Transparency and Traceability) a Vancouver, B.C., company whose traceability software helps seafood enterprises around the world record key supply chain data and improve business efficiency.

NovoNutrients (Supply Chain Innovation) of Sunnyvale, California, which is using food-grade bacteria to make fish food from industrial carbon emissions.

“We’re elated that we won and also humbled—there are so many bright lights in the industry right now, and so much innovation going on,” said Eric Enno Tamm, CEO of ThisFish. “Many of those companies approached me about our technology. It’s helpful to connect with the early adopters.”

Saumil Shah, managing director of EnerGaia, and Simone Pisu, CEO of Sustainable Fishery Trade, also cited the value of connections—and welcomed the attention of the global marketplace.

“Being in a competition with such a strong presence in the U.S. market is going to be a real launching point for us,” said Shah. “We are making great connections not only with investors but also with partners and buyers.”

“The Fish 2.0 award gives us the possibility to have the spotlight of the sector on us,” said Pisu. “Our mission is to improve the fishery sector in the region. We now have more potential to inspire other companies.”

Prizes include $40,000 cash, ICX (Industry Connection) awards

Each winner received a $5,000 cash prize. They and all the other finalists are also eligible for ICX (Industry Connection) prizes: unique opportunities for ventures to gain market insights and expertise from industry leaders that support growth and innovation in sustainable seafood. The Fish 2.0 advisory panel will announce the winners of those prizes in December.

“I was impressed with the range of businesses and innovations,” said Leigh Moran, senior officer, strategy, at Calvert Impact Capital, which is sponsoring an ICX prize. “This was the strongest group yet at Fish 2.0; I noticed more focus on brand and more sophistication, combined with a commitment to building the sustainable seafood sector overall.”

Participating in Fish 2.0, she added, “is a great way for us to stay up to speed on what’s going on in the sector. It’s an entirely unique event in terms of the different actors it brings together, the topics it addresses, and the focus on both good impact and good business.”

Audience chooses favorites in short-pitch session

The 17 remaining finalists delivered 90-second pitches directly to the audience of about 250 investors, business leaders and government representatives, who voted for the company they most wanted to follow up with. The top vote-getter was American Unagi, a Thomaston, Maine, company that grows locally harvested glass eels to market size in a land-based aquaculture system, providing a sustainable eel option for the domestic market while creating economic opportunity in a rural area.

The 39 companies presenting at the finals emerged with top scores from an initial field of 184 and prevailed in a particularly strong semifinalist field of 80 ventures. During Fish 2.0’s seven-month competition program, which took place online up to the finals, businesses received feedback from investor-judges and worked with business and impact advisors to develop their strategies, integrate positive impacts and metrics into their plans, and position their enterprise for investment. At least six judges scored each competitor that reached the finals.

“The power of this event is seeing a lot of different companies approaching similar problems with a variety of technologies,” said Dan Pullman of Fresh Source Capital, a judge on two panels. “I can compare their presentations, talk to them and get to know them. I’m impressed—the entrepreneurs are very well prepared. They are ready to be communicating to investors.”

Five global trends are driving innovation

Leading up to the Innovation Forum, Fish 2.0 analyzed the market demands that companies in the Fish 2.0 network are responding to and found that five accelerating global trends are driving transformation in the seafood industry: the need to predict and understand climate change impacts; wild fish stocks nearing maximum yield; product globalization and the rise of online sales; the worldwide growth of a health-conscious middle class; and aquaculture’s rapid expansion. These five trends are opening up new markets in the seafood sector, and ventures around the world are racing to capture a share of the opportunities.

“Innovation in the seafood sector is growing like never before,” said Fish 2.0 founder and executive director Monica Jain. “Rapid technology advances and new players are coming to this previously traditional sector. We’re seeing creative products, services and business models that solve problems and remove barriers to both sustainability and growth of the seafood supply. These innovations are poised to create significant changes in the way seafood is produced, harvested and marketed over the next decade.”

About Fish 2.0

Fish 2.0 is a Carmel, California–based social enterprise that connects investors and entrepreneurs to grow the global sustainable seafood sector. Working through Fish 2.0’s expanding global network, regional workshops and other events, and competition platform, Fish 2.0 participants collaborate to drive innovation, business growth and positive impact. Everyone benefits: Entrepreneurs meet potential investors, partners and advisors. Investors and advisors get early access to investment opportunities and learn about emerging technologies and trends. Industry leaders gain direct access to sustainable seafood suppliers and partners.

Media contacts

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What people are saying about Fish 2.0

  • Mitchell Presser - Freshfields US and Investor in Ag Tech
    Fish 2.0 is a fantastic forum, bringing together innovative and cutting edge ideas for the future of our most efficient source of animal protein
    - Mitchell Presser, Freshfields US and Investor in Ag Tech
  • Amy Novogratz - Aqua-Spark
    We really value participating in Fish 2.0 as both sponsors and judges — it has expanded and strengthened our network.
    - Amy Novogratz, Aqua-Spark
  • Brock Mansfield - Salmon Innovation Fund
    Participating in Fish 2.0 as a judge, mentor and investor has made connecting easy, at both the local and global level.
    - Brock Mansfield, Salmon Innovation Fund
  • Andrew Beebe - Obvious Ventures
    Fish 2.0 is a homerun event. The quality of entrepreneurs, co-investors and corporate players in attendance is off the charts. I can’t recommend it more highly.
    - Andrew Beebe, Obvious Ventures
  • Mike Velings - Aqua-Spark
    Fish 2.0 has brought us really interesting deals to look at, gives a good sense of challenges and opportunities in the global seafood sector, and is always a great time.
    - Mike Velings, Aqua-Spark
  • Frank McGrath - Oberon Securities
    Fish 2.0 shows my investor base vetted, prepped organizations at sane expectations and valuations.
    - Frank McGrath, Oberon Securities
  • Leigh Moran - Calvert Foundation
    Fish 2.0 is unique amongst business competitions in that investors are ready to invest and competitors actually get investment! That is all too rare in many business competitions
    - Leigh Moran, Calvert Foundation
  • Kate Danaher - RSF Social Finance
    Working with Fish 2.0 as an online judge and advisor has given us amazing exposure to great companies/pipeline but more importantly it has given us the opportunity to educate ourselves on the sector.
    - Kate Danaher, RSF Social Finance
  • Dane Chauvel - Organic Ocean Seafood
    Fish 2.0 helped us grow our business, but more importantly, it helped us optimize our business. We are doing more, and doing it better. I don’t believe we would have gotten here as quickly if we had not gone through the Fish 2.0 planning exercise.
    - Dane Chauvel, Fish 2.0 2013 Finalist (Canada)
  • Roxanne Nanninga - Tru Fish
    This was a great opportunity to pitch to a very relevant group of people. I made some very valuable connections.
    - Roxanne Nanninga, Fish 2.0 2015 Finalist (USA)
  • Sherry Flummerfelt - Monterey Bay Fisheries Trust
    I made some excellent connections, learned so much, and feel like our organization has grown considerably as a result of participating in Fish 2.0.
    - Sherry Flummerfelt, Fish 2.0 2015 Finalist (USA)
  • Mitchell Lench - Treetops Capital
    Awareness about sustainable seafood continues to rise, and impact investors want to support new initiatives in this arena, but it’s hard to find them. It was useful to see so many different types of sustainable seafood companies all in one place.
    - Mitchell Lench, Treetops Capital
  • Emmanuelle Bourgois - FairAgora
    Fish 2.0 competition has been a unique learning experience. It shaped the idea from a concept to a robust business model, boosted confidence in my entrepreneurship skills and is the real starting point of this amazing and innovative adventure.
    - Emmanuelle Bourgois, Fish 2.0 2015 Competitor (Thailand)
  • Alfred Kalontas - Alfa Fishing
    Fish 2.0 helped me understand my brand better. It helped me refine my business structure to represent my business brand.
    - Alfred Kalontas, Fish 2.0 2015 Finalist (Vanuatu)
  • Diane Durance - Harvest Food & Fisheries
    As a semi-finalist in 2013, I experienced first-hand how important it is to get your venture in front of investors who are knowledgeable and interested in your field. Fish 2.0 is the organization making that possible for entrepreneurs in aquaculture and sustainable fisheries.
    - Diane Durance, Fish 2.0 2013 Semi-finalist (USA)
  • Mike Betts - AgFunder
    Fish 2.0 provided a huge amount of value to the investor community in really getting exposure for and curating companies, that is super valuable. It's one of the best I have been to in the food and ag sector. Everything from the quality of the attendees and companies, the content, the engagement.
    - Mike Betts, AgFunder (USA)
  • What I liked about Fish 2.0 was
    the high-quality content and very well curated line-up of companies.
    - Investor, Fish 2.0 2015
  • Kelly Harrell - Alaska Marine Conservation Council
    For those in the fisheries world, Fish 2.0 has quickly become the go-to place for those interested in advancing cutting-edge business models focused on the triple-bottom line of social, environmental, and economic impact.
    - Kelly Harrell, Fish 2.0 2015 Finalist (USA)
  • Dr. Karsidete Teeranitayatarn - Green Innovative Biotech
    This made my company grow up and served as a springboard. We received interest and collaboration from around the world, including Fiji, Northern Canada, Alaska, Marshall Island, and venture capitalists from Silicon Valley.
    -Dr. Karsidete Teeranitayatarn, Fish 2.0 2015 Finalist (Thailand)
  • David Stover - Bureo
    It makes you kind of step back and look at what's actually going on, ... question what path are you on, where are we going ... in that sense, it's an extremely valuable process to kind of put things on paper and take a look at it.
    - David Stover, Fish 2.0 2015 Finalist (Chile)
  • Brett Haywood - Sea Quest Group
    Helped us look within and be able to convey our positive impacts, whether its socially, environmentally or resource based, and convey this to our markets and partners.
    - Brett Haywood, Fish 2.0 2015 Finalist (Fiji)
  • Andriet Tilfas - Hapmak Market
    It helped me connect with a lot of new business people around the world. Not only to help with our small scale in a remote island but to expand services because there are a lot of opportunities out there.
    - Andriet Tilfas, Fish 2.0 2015 Competitor (Micronesia)
  • This is the most professional event I’ve attended in this sector.
    - Investor, Fish 2.0 2015
  • Alan Lovewell - Local Catch Monterey Bay
    Fish 2.0 is a great way to expand your network. We learned about other fish businesses and opportunities for collaboration--that exposure is very hard to do on your own.
    - Alan Lovewell, Fish 2.0 2013 Finalist (USA)
  • Gary Ullstrom - Kuterra
    It’s not just a seminar, it’s the real thing – you’re pitching to real people with real money.
    - Gary Ullstrom, Fish 2.0 2013 Finalist (Canada)
  • Kit Barron - CapLog Group
    Fish 2.0 takes the fish by the fins and creates a much needed mechanism through which the right industry experience, innovative thinkers and financial backing can come together to move new ideas in seafood to market.
    - Kit Barron, CapLog Group, LLC and Fish 2.0 2013 Advisor
  • Ed Robinson - Acadia Harvest
    All the people we dealt with on the Fish 2.0 team were great to work with. We’d have no hesitation to do it again.
    - Ed Robinson, Fish 2.0 2013 Semi finalist and 2015 Finalist (USA)
  • Hoyt Peckham - SmartFish
    It changed the way I prepare for all sorts of investor interactions, and it greatly improved our success.
    - Hoyt Peckham, Fish 2.0 2013 Semi-finalist (Mexico)
  • Gary Beatty - Inland Shrimp Company
    People found us through the media around Fish 2.0 – people who want to have shrimp locally have gone out of their way to contact us.
    - Gary Beatty, Fish 2.0 2013 Semi-finalist (USA)