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UPDATE: Aqua-Spark Invests in 2 Aquaculture Tech Startups: BioFishency’s $2.4m Series A & Molofeed

March 27, 2019

**UPDATED: MARCH 27, 13:55 ET. Added additional Aqua-Spark investment announced today, and corrected Aqua-Spark’s assets under management to €72.5m**

BioFishency, an aquaculture filtration technology startup, has raised $2.4 million in funding from global seafood tech investor Aqua-Spark, The Trendlines Group and a private Chinese investor.

Aquaculture, the farming of aquatic organisms, is the fastest-growing sector in animal protein production, with a market value of $13.3 billion. By 2030, 62% of food fish will come from aquaculture taking place within existing water systems, and on-land.

BioFishency is developing land-based aquaculture technology, specifically to target challenges producers face around limited water availability and overuse, and the build-up of toxic ammonia in closed systems from fish excrement.

It sells biofilters and whole turnkey solutions for operators that biologically treat the water used to eliminate the ammonia buildup and oxygenate the water. This substantially cuts the amount of water needed. By enhancing water conditions, the system improves the overall ability of the fish to survive, grow, and reproduce, which significantly increases profitability and sustainability.

BioFishency says its technology has demonstrated a 95% reduction in water use for intensive tanks, a two- to fivefold increase in yields for extensive ponds, 2x greater nitrification (ammonia removal) for improved water quality, significant increase in yield per water and land use.

Its clients reach across seafood types and the globe in Israel, Congo, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, and China, with new interest coming out of Nigeria and Vietnam.

The startup will use the funding to develop its China business particularly, according to co-CEO and co-founder Igal Magen: “BioFishency’s recent investment is extremely important and enables us to develop in a number of ways: We have begun to set up a Chinese operation, following our success in selling to the Chinese market. China makes up 60% of the world market for our products. Having a Chinese entity places the company in the heart of its main market, which presents the potential for raising additional capital and receiving government support in China in the future. The funds will also enable us to continue our R&D to provide additional aquaculture solutions for the market.”

The investment marks the first for Aqua-Spark in filtration technology. Aqua-Spark has €72.5 million under management. At the Animal AgTech conference in San Francisco last week, Aqua-Spark co-founder Mike Velings commented the growth in interest in the aquaculture industry by investors.

“We are excited for BioFishency to join our portfolio. They’re our first investment in filtration technology — and attracted our attention because of their commitment to sustainability and accessibility. The sheer size of inland aquaculture globally means that aquaculture uses a lot of scarce resources. Biofishency’s technology enables the production of more fish per unit on land and in water while reducing the environmental impacts. This is imperative in sustaining the growth of aquaculture while reducing environmental effects,” said Velings and his cofounder Amy Novogratz in a statement about the deal.

Also announced today, Aqua-Spark has invested in Norwegian startup Molofeed. Molofeed has developed a high-quality larval feed for marine finfish and shrimp based on proprietary micro-encapsulation technology that makes it possible to include pre-digested and other water-soluble components in a capsule, and slow-release nutrients after feeding. The technology has several additional potential applications, including acting as a delivery system for bioactive peptides, immunostimulants, and probiotics.

Because of their size and digestive capabilities, young fish require highly specific feeds — commonly sourced from live prey, such as Artemia and Rotifers, which are costly, carry disease-risk, and have a significant environmental footprint. Molofeed is able to substitute more live feed than current products, with a vision of one day replacing live feeds altogether. The current product’s particle sizes and nutritional composition allows for early weaning, leading to a replacement rate of up to 50%.

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