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Minecraft maestro invests in Ace Aquatech

8 July 2020, at 8:06am

Scottish tech entrepreneurs Chris van der Kuyl and Paddy Burns have invested in Dundee-headquartered aquaculture technology specialist Ace Aquatec.

Chris van der Kuyl (left) with Nathan Pyne-Carter, CEO of Ace Aquatech
Chris van der Kuyl (left) with Nathan Pyne-Carter, CEO of Ace Aquatech

Founded in 1999, Ace Aquatec is a double Queen’s Award for Enterprise winner which develops acoustic deterrent devices and electric stunners that are used by fish farm operators in the UK and across the globe.

The investment by the tech duo who run the game development group 4J Studios, which is best known for developing the Minecraft Console edition, follows a funding round last year led by Dutch aquaculture investment fund Aqua-Spark.

The latest investment will also see van der Kuyl join the board of Ace Aquatec. The company’s management team, led by CEO Nathan Pyne-Carter, plans to grow its team and regional support network over the coming months as ethical farming and food insecurity move up the global agenda in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.

Pyne-Carter said: “Aquaculture is set to grow even quicker post-Covid and is seen by many commentators as one of the key drivers to address the onset of a global food crisis. As the industry grows, we are helping our customers support their own growth with the most sustainable and ethical products in the market.”

On the investment by van der Kuyl and Burns, he added: “Chris and Paddy’s experience growing digital businesses will be a significant asset to our team as we strive to blend the best of physical and digital technologies to help our customers produce environmentally sustainable seafood."

van der Kuyl said: “Paddy and I are delighted to invest in such a fantastic technology, manufacturing and innovation driven company. Ace Aquatec has shown phenomenal global growth and ambition and I hope we can help bring our technology expertise to this world class organisation. Investing alongside management and an aquaculture specialist investor in Aqua-Spark gives us cause for great optimism and excitement for future developments.”

Ace Aquatec’s innovative products range from acoustic devices that protect fish farms from predators and humane electric stunning equipment that immediately renders fish unconscious before they leave the water to be processed, to the world’s first underwater 3D biomass camera that provides unobtrusive indicators of fish health. The company exports to Chile, New Zealand, Australia, USA, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Greece, Germany, Denmark and Russia. In the UK, customers include Scottish Sea Farms and Loch Duart. The global aquaculture market is forecast to reach over $270 billion by 2025, according to Adroit Market Research.

Ace Aquatec is on track for record domestic and international revenues in 2020 and has a series of product, partnership and customer announcements in the pipeline.