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Ace Aquatec secures backing from Earth Capital Limited and appoints Chair and Non-Executive Director

07 June 2023

Ace Aquatec secures backing from Earth Capital Limited and appoints Chair and Non-Executive Director

Ace Aquatec, the award-winning aquaculture technology company which specialises in welfare first outcomes, has secured an investment from cleantech investor, Earth Capital Limited (“ECL”) to grow its current portfolio of products and markets. 

ECL joins existing investors Aqua-Spark, one of the biggest blue growth investment funds, with a shared mission to move the aquaculture industry towards more healthy, sustainable, and affordable production. The group will benefit from ECL’s experience and support with Senior Investment Manager, Bradley Jones, joining the Ace Aquatec Board.

Wider changes to the board see Chris van der Kuyl CBE appointed Chair and Nina Santi joining the board as a non-exec director. Chris van der Kuyl is Principal of existing investor, Chroma Ventures and Nina Santi is also a senior advisor at INAQ AS, a business strategy advisory firm specialising in the seafood industry.

Today, fish provide 17% of the world's protein1 with the world population expected to reach 8.5 billion by 20302. The growing demand for fish through aquaculture has emphasised the importance of responsible farming and targeted investment needed in the sector3. Sustainable production methods, traceability, and animal welfare are also important factors in consumers’ purchasing decisions. Ace Aquatec is a crucial technological link in a chain of improvement that can help make aquaculture more sustainable.

The Dundee-based supplier of global aquaculture solutions has raised over £10m since its series A investment with Aqua-Spark and Chroma Ventures. Ace Aquatec has already shown strong growth in key markets including the UK, Europe, Canada, South America, and South East Asia and will use part of this additional capital to expand its presence and distributor networks in these markets. It will also provide a recruitment boost, with 10 jobs expected to be created including Engineering, Software and Sales support roles in Dundee and Chile.  

The investment will also enable the acceleration of the firm’s development in innovative aquaculture technology solutions, including its Biomass Camera which has recently started production following successful trials. This underwater camera is designed to detect and quantify fish biomass automatically. It uses machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to produce accurate, real-time data on a range of fish species populations and distributions. 

Bradley Jones, Senior Investment Manager of Earth Capital Limited said: “We are excited to be partnering with Ace Aquatec, a key player in the aquaculture industry, on the next stage of its development journey.  Championing sustainable practices and setting high welfare standards paves the way to ensuring that seafood farming becomes one of the biggest opportunities to responsibly feed a growing population. Sustainable farming aligns perfectly with Earth Capital Limited's mission to advance technology within the energy, food, and water sectors while driving towards a net-zero future."

Nathan Pyne-Carter, CEO of Ace Aquatec, said: "Earth Capital Limited shares our outlook and passions – namely, the critical importance of technology to drive sustainable food production. Together we can tackle one of the world’s most pressing issues by providing sustainable and responsible protein for a growing world population. The team’s support and expertise will help us scale the business and take another huge step forward in the development of high-welfare products for the global seafood industry.  We are also excited to welcome Bradley Jones to our board, whose deep knowledge and strategic insights will be invaluable in guiding our future growth."

Josien Bakker, Investment Manager at Aqua-Spark said: “Since our first investment in Ace Aquatec, we’ve known they had the vision to transform the sector by developing products that make fish farming more humane while protecting the environment. They have built a well-known brand, due to the company’s accessibility and scientific evidence.  Its growth since then is proof that breakthrough technologies are being embraced by farmers, processors, and supermarkets pushing for improved fish welfare across the entire industry. We’re looking forward to partnering with Earth Capital Limited, a fund committed to sustainable technology that will spotlight how much we can do to improve the welfare of fish across the industry.”

Chris van der Kuyl CBE, Chair said: “On behalf of the board, I am delighted to welcome Nina to Ace Aquatec. Nina is an accomplished and transformative executive with extensive experience in operations and technology management within the aquaculture sector. The board will also benefit from her strong scientific research capability and innovation experience”.

Nina Santi, Senior Advisor at INAQ AS, said: “I am excited for the opportunity to join the board of Ace Aquatec. They are a great team dedicated to the support of the company. Ace Aquatec provides key solutions that the industry really needs and is well positioned for further growth.” 

3 The Aquaculture Stewardship Council