Canadian land-based aqua startup reels in $8 million investment

Halifax-based startup ReelData AI has closed an $8 million series-A funding round and plans to use the capital to bring its data and automation offering to more land-based aquaculture ventures.

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
12 January 2023, at 8:31am
People working at a standing desk
Machine learning experts at work in the Halifax, Nova Scotia ReelData office

ReelData is on a mission to develop a precise and autonomous operating system to unlock the future of land-based aquaculture © ReelData AI

ReelData’s latest funding round was led by Buoyant Ventures, with additional investment provided by S2G Ventures and The Nest Family Office. As the aquaculture industry continues its rapid expansion, investors and entrepreneurs are looking to land-based pioneers as potential industry disruptors. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), aquaculture production is projected to reach 109 million tonnes in 2030, an increase of 32 percent (26 million tonnes) over 2018 – and land-based aquaculture will be a critical part of the global nutrition strategy.

“Scaling the global land-based aquaculture industry is critical in both our fight against climate change and our ability to feed a growing population,” said Mathew Zimola, co-founder and CEO of ReelData. “ReelData’s farmer-first approach has informed our deep understanding of the pain points that our partners are facing when it comes to scalability. Our ability to solve those problems through the use of AI and automation is helping to push the boundaries of our industry’s capabilities.”

The land-based aquaculture industry has – by all accounts – audacious goals. If these operations can scale effectively, they will ensure that the wider industry can maintain its growth trajectory. Land-based facilities are complex and require real-time, accurate decision-making. ReelData intends to use the funding it has raised to develop a precise and autonomous operating system to unlock the future of land-based aquaculture and the sustainability advancements it promises.

“Our investment in ReelData represents our belief that advancing sustainable seafood production is critical for both the health of our planet and its people. We look forward to working closely with them on their mission to become the premiere digital solution for the land-based aquaculture industry,” said Amy Francetic, managing general partner and co-founder of Buoyant Ventures.

ReelData’s first product on the market – ReelAppetite – identifies real-time population appetite and adjusts feed levels accordingly to maximise biomass while limiting waste. This technology has helped save companies up to $2-3 million on wasted feed per 10,000 metric tonne annual production – in addition to related savings generated from increased growth rate and reduced production risks.

“Following our initial investment, we have been continuously impressed by the innovation and sustainability-related benefits that ReelData is bringing to the table,” said Larsen Mettler, managing director at S2G Ventures. “The company’s pace and efficiency in bringing new technologies to the sector are unparalleled and driving impressive results for its partners, enabling them to increase growth while decreasing costs and environmental impact.”

salmon swimming near an underwater camera
ReelData's solutions can help measure appetite, biomass, stress levels and overall health

The first image of biomass estimation in land-based aquaculture tanks © ReelData AI

ReelData’s latest offering is ReelBiomass – the only biomass estimation camera system built from the ground up for RAS and flow through systems. The ReelBiomass technology can monitor the size, weight and distribution of fish populations with high degrees of accuracy, removing the need for intrusive weigh-ins, which cause high levels of stress for the fish and ultimately decrease its growth rate.

Read more about the company here.