Montreal-based aquaculture data outfit, XpertSea, has raised USD 8 million in venture-capital to add to earlier seed capital for its offering to “transform aquaculture with technology”, it has been learned.
The company — which makes computer-vision equipment to count hatchery organisms — has tapped its seed-capital investor, Real Ventures, for more funds and attracted Obvious Ventures and Aqua-Spark as co-investors. All have their eye on the company’s main offering, a tool that measures and keeps records of tiny organisms: although only its shrimp-counting tech seems ready for market, its salmon-fry and salmon larvae counter are in development and due out soon.
“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,” stated Valerie Robitaille, CEO and co-founder of XpertSea.
Like others SalmonBusiness has written about, this company is cutting-edge. Unlike other companies, its tech counts and analyses populations of the tiniest organisms.
“Combining artificial intelligence, computer vision, and machine learning, our solution empowers hatcheries, farms and research centres to track and manage their aquatic populations with greater speed, accuracy, and insight than ever before,” the company said.
XpertSea’s key offering for that is the XperCount, which offers a real-time, exact biomass count and a dynamic database with analytics portal to know exactly how many fish are being fed, moved or stocked at a hatchery. It’s in the hatchery market where the company would seem to have a strong edge, at least for salmon.
XpertSea’s investors, Obvious Ventures, are based in San Francisco and management describe their company as “product designers and company builders, first”, although they’ve helped “a lot of companies launch, grow and generate financial returns”. They have “several initial public offerings” under their belts.
Obvious Ventures count actor, Leonardo DiCaprio, as an advisor, and their investment portfolio includes the Diamond Foundry — which forges diamonds to end the mining of them — and a range of businesses they deem game-changers, a list that includes renewable energy companies, app-makers and food producers.
Netherlands-based global investment fund, Aqua-Spark, has also invested in XpertSea for their focus on “sustainable aquaculture”. Both have had small-scale aquaculture as target market.
By the end of 2017, XpertSea said its customers in 48 countries have counted more than 17 billion organisms and uploaded over 100,000 “counting and sizing sessions” to their data portal.