One of the greatest challenges for the 100% fish utilization movement is financing. I have felt that investors. financiers and bankers which have some focus on seafood have little or no knowledge about the new seafood industry; nutraceutical or functional food from fish protein or new technology for extending shelf life, extracting proteins, securing trazeability etc. Seafood bankers and financiers know all about fisheries and fish processing but the new seafood is a black box to them.
It is understandable as the traditional and new seafood industry are very different. We should not necessarily try to change the traditional bankers. They have an important role to play in their field. I believe instead we need to better inform investors who have been involved with high tech, pharmaceutical markets, health and beauty about these new opportunities. Get them excited about new seafood startups. But how?
First we have to showcase new startups which are becoming proof of concept; small profitable companies developing products from seafood proteins etc.
Second, the Ocean Cluster Network can be the vehicle which effectively develops and validates a scalable business model from the ideas which emerge from the network.
Third, we have to invest in relationships with these investors. This means we need to get close to them. The Fish 2.0 project in the US is a good example. Our sister clusters in New England (Maine and Massachusetts) are a part of our strategy to connect seafood startups from all over with the global investment community. The coastal areas in New England have a global investment community next door.
Now its our turn to show investors the startup world in seafood which they rarely know exists!
This is a guest post by Þór Sigfússon, founder and CEO of the Iceland Ocean Cluster.
Cover image by Timothy Meinberg.
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