Quebec City based company, XpertSea, announced $1.3 million in seed funding from Real Ventures, a Canadian seed stage venture fund. The company provides inventory management solutions for aquaculture producers, specifically through its product, XperCount, a mechanism that can count tiny aquatic organisms in a fraction of the time it traditionally takes.
Founded in 2009 by Cody Andrews and Valerie Robitaille, the company’s target market runs from aquariums to larger seafood cultivators globally. Accurate and consistent cultivation and distribution of feed is of vital importance for these companies, which strive to maintain a delicate balance in their man-made ecosystems while attempting to keep costs down and aquaculture populations healthy and abundant.
The method for doing this, prior to XperCount, was literally to hand count each tiny organism by hand with a small spoon. With some producers churning out numbers in the billions per year of farmed seafood, this task can become quite daunting.
“Since we’ve started working on this technology, I have counted over half a million shrimp,” Cody Andrews tells the folks at Discovery, referring to Mysis Shrimp, a small crustacean used to feed sea life at the Quebec City Aquarium. “If it’s ten minutes to count a thousand shrimp, it’s like, so many days of my life just wasted counting shrimp.”
Think about that on an industrial scale, and we can begin to see his point.
Enter XpertSea’s flagship product, XperCount. The product resembles a futuristic bucket with an iPad affixed to its lid. The company claims XperCount can instantly count the number of organisms in its contents, providing both feed producers and consumers with fast, accurate and reliable data.
The website boasts XperCount’s usefulness in counting aquatic organisms ranging from crustaceans and fish to echinoderms, live feed and microalgae. Now in its second generation, it uses diffused light to count the organisms found in whatever water is placed inside of it. XperCount is waterproof, battery operated and connects to a mobile app friendly portal to help the user organize and track the date the device derives.
Aquaculture is a growing sector in food production these days. It refers to the breeding, rearing, and harvesting of plants and animals in all types of water environments including ponds, rivers, lakes, and the ocean. Aquaculture produces food fish, sport fish, bait fish, ornamental fish, crustaceans, mollusks, algae, sea vegetables, and fish eggs.
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Photo courtesy of ExpertSea.