Aquaculture for all

Hatch Blue opens doors to fresh batch of startups

Salmonids Shrimp Feed ingredients +14 more

Hatch Blue has unveiled the nine participants selected for its revamped flagship accelerator programme, which is known as Crest.

by Senior editor, The Fish Site
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A group photo.
Representatives of the nine companies in Hatch Blue's inaugural Crest accelerator programme.

© Hatch Blue

Their technologies span multiple sectors – including farm hardware, nutrition, novel farming systems, animal health and regenerative aquaculture – and the Crest programme kicked off on Monday with a week-long on-site workshop at NELHA in Hawai’i.

“The strong interest and competitive applications from aquaculture startups around the world has validated our redesign of the accelerator model. The first phase of the programme in Hawai’i is crucial, as it’s where the strategic outputs will be co-developed with the startups. Hawai’i is one of the few places on Earth where aquaculture entrepreneurs can be exposed to such a wide range of species and farming operations and also meet world-class aquaculture mentors,” reflects Benedict Tan, Crest programme director.

One key change in the programme is its flexibility. Previously, participants in the accelerator visited four different aquaculture hubs over a four-month period, but there’s now a range of options over the next 18 months when they can join visits to Norway, Singapore and Vietnam.

“I am excited to spend time with the teams using Hatch Blue’s expertise to accelerate their business development. The goal throughout the Crest programme is validating our investment rationale and identifying follow-on investment opportunities, in line with our accelerator-driven investment model,” notes Caitriona Kelleher, Hatch Blue’s managing director of early stage investments.

Aeiral view of an aquaculture research station.
NELHA's Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology Park will host the accelerator's launch


The successful applicants

  • b.fab GmbH – produces 82 percent protein from single celled organisms that has the potential to replace fishmeal in aquafeeds.

  • Aquasend – has developed real-time oxygen and temperature sensing for commercial-scale aquaculture operations.

  • Aquit - a biotech startup that develops antimicrobial peptides that offer an alternative to antibiotics for the salmon sector, improving survival rates and animal welfare.

  • AI Control Technologies Inc - provides automated depth control technology for autonomous oyster farming systems using artificial intelligence to optimise farming conditions.

  • TransparentSea – has developed a pilot clearwater shrimp RAS with unparalleled, low production costs.

  • OoNee - harvests and ranches purple sea urchins in vertically integrated land-based operations while regenerating coastal kelp forests.

  • MarineSitu – has developed AI-enabled underwater monitoring solutions for biomass estimation and health assessments.

  • Cultimar Technologies – has developed proprietary rearing protocols for a commercial-scale red snapper hatchery, as well as technologies to combat off-flavour in RAS and for live fish shipping.

  • KnipBio – produces a single-cell protein from a methylotrophic bacteria, with functional properties increasing stress resilience in juvenile fish and shrimp.

Greg Barbour, executive director of NELHA, said: “We are excited to welcome the startups on the new Hatch Blue Crest accelerator to the Big Island of Hawaii and to support them as best we can. Every accelerator thus far has been able to shape some exceptional entrepreneurs and transformative technologies. Those entrepreneurs have gone on to attract over $150 million in follow-on funding, which is a true testament to the value of the programme. I look forward to following the development of the startups and the programme’s impact on them with the new format.”

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