2023 is going to be a big year for Blue Food. As Urchinomics secures the world’s first voluntary Blue Carbon Credit for its ecologically restorative operations, and the Earthshot Prize is awarded to Notpla for its water-soluble packaging derived from seaweed, start-ups sourcing sustainable solutions from our oceans are making waves around the globe.

We spoke with active investors in the blue food space to gain their perspectives on the hot areas for financing in 2023, what solutions they are looking for, and who they are hoping to connect with to accelerate positive change.

Responsible production is front of mind for these experts, with focus on the climate impact of food, consumer demand for healthier proteins, and the need to scale aquaculture sustainably while protecting ocean biodiversity. Read on for their valuable insights, and save the date to join them and many more investors at the Blue Food Innovation Summit on May 23-24, 2023.

Amy Novogratz, Managing Director, Aqua-Spark: “2023 will bring real proof points of aquaculture transitioning to a healthier, more traceable and more sustainable industry. We will see large investment rounds in aquatech companies that make it clear that tech has become an integral part of the industry, including the first unicorn in the aquatech space. And we will start to see examples of larger scale supply chain transactions dependent on the data tech enables.”

Peter Bryant, Senior Programme Director, Builders Initiative: “As consumers continue to think more and more about the climate impacts of their eating habits, we believe more people will seek out locally sourced foods with lower carbon footprints.  In that way, zero input ocean-based foods like mussels and oysters will continue to gain more traction as some of the healthiest protein options available and products made with sea vegetables will also continue to expand in grocery stores as well.”

Alex Kopelyan, Senior Director & Partner, IndieBio: “Our oceans require an approach rooted in stewardship and long-term thinking. I’m excited by approaches that embrace the complexity of ocean ecosystems to drive biodiversity, scalable nutritious food production, and ecosystem restoration. I’ll be looking for new and existing founders to bring more clarity and focus to the value they create downstream. Lastly, start-ups, investors, and other actors in the ocean ecosystem need to work to build a playbook with regulators to adapt to climate change and allow many more proof-of-concept projects to be deployed (speaking for the USA at least). There has been a lot of exciting work done in 2022 to set the table for a huge 2023 for blue food and ocean climate-tech!”

Steven Fox, Partner, Propeller: “At Propeller, we are approaching the blue food space both in buttressing the existing ecosystem with efficiency gains that reduce GHG emissions, or cut harmful overconsumption and exploitation. We are also seeding innovative entrepreneurs supporting the carbon transition and threats to biodiversity. Our investments include ready-made solutions, such as plant-based substitutes, and blue food of the future including the cellular space.”

Christian Lim, Managing Director – Blue Ocean, Swen Capital Partners: “As several core technologies are being adopted widely, we see 2023 as the inflection point when precision aquaculture starts becoming mainstream. This is laying the foundations for automation, which is on the critical path to achieve sustainable aquaculture at scale, be it for conventional aquaculture, offshore or RAS.”

Francisco Saraiva Gomes, Chief Investment Officer, Ocean 14 Capital: “Food security was a key theme in 2022 and we expect this will continue at pace in 2023 and really highlight the ocean’s key role as both a source of environmentally sustainable and regenerative proteins and as an integral solution to mitigating the effects of the climate crisis. More capital will continue to flow into fisheries and aquaculture value chains including advances in data, technology and alternative to fish meal solutions. We will see more momentum in seaweed, from its value as a superior raw material for bio-refinery applications in nutrition, agriculture and biotech applications. We will also see continued innovations in securitisation of the ocean through biodiversity credits and blue carbon throughout 2023 and therefore more institutional capital looking to deploy throughout the blue economy.”

Join over 350 leaders in blue food, ocean systems and aquaculture in London at the Blue Food Innovation Summit on May 23-24, 2023 as we unite producers, feed suppliers, health providers, retailers, investors and innovators to forge the collaborations that will take sustainable aquaculture to the next level. Register now.