Aquabyte raises $25 million

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The software company Aquabyte has confirmed that they have raised $25 million (€24.7 million) from investors.

The company that makes technology for the aquaculture industry has had a big boost since they presented their product in 2017, at the Aqua Nor trade fair in Trondheim, Norway. They now have over 50 employees, half of whom are based in Bergen, Norway.

“The first product we launched was automated salmon counting. There was an opening for such a product when the Norwegian Food Safety Authority a few years ago opened for applications for dispensation to do this automatically”, Bryton Shang told DN.

In the article from DN, Bryton Shang revealed that it is large companies, such as Softbank and Alliance Venture, that have invested money in Aquabyte.

The system they have developed can, with the help of camera technology, count the number of fish and the amount of lice in a cage. This takes away much of the manual work required in the aquaculture industry. Not to mention the stress on the fish.

Aquabyte camera prototype in bathtub in San Francisco. Photo: Bryton Shang

€437 million
Bryton Shang, who still owns over 20 percent of the company, has a clear plan for how the money raised will be used.

“The fresh money will be used to hire more computer experts, build up more products and enter new species and markets, says Shang, who has now raised NOK 450 million (€43.7 million) in capital since its inception.

SalmonBusiness’s sister site iLaks met the entrepreneur earlier in July at their office in Bergen, where they run the Norwegian part of the business.

He told the site about the challenges the company has faced in the development of the advanced system, pointing to the weather conditions around the cages, but it is now apparently a well-functioning product.

“It’s like a smartphone, it’s a simple system, which can do everything. The system is used by many, so it is important that when it comes to their cages that it works just as well whether it is at sea, on land or in a fjord,” Shang said at the time.

Valued at a billion
Back in 2017, SalmonBusiness met Shang, where he could then tell about the idea that started it all. Then he thought they would one day be worth a billion dollars.

“It is obvious that Norway is a world leader in technology and development related to aquaculture, while the USA and Silicon Valley are similar in software and machine learning. The connection, which is perhaps somewhat unusual, therefore became very natural in this context, at the same time as it has given us a great advantage,” he told SalmonBusiness in 2017.

Following the successful capital raising, Aquabyte, based in America’s Silicon Valley, is now valued at over one billion Norwegian kroner (€97 million).

Aquabyte had sales of NOK 36.2 million (€3.5 million) in the last financial year 2020, and had an operating profit of NOK 1.4 million (€136,000).