Hatch, an aquaculture technology accelerator that launched in January 2018 it has closed its the first half of its investment fund and joins several key figures from the aquaculture industry onto its advisory board including former Rubicon and Ewos CEOs.

While prior investments were made through the directors and founders of the company, the new investment fund totals first €8 million ($8.8 million) in capital from a combination of high-end institutional investors and a government venture fund.

Hatch is still open to new investors.

Since its launch, the company has made 16 investments across two cohorts in Ireland and Norway. In August, Hatch will be launching its third cohort in Hawaii; Applications are currently accepted, and the fund expects somewhere between 10 and 14 new startups.

The accelerator is consciously trying to tap into different parts of the world, Managing Partner Carsten Krome told IntraFish.

"Aquaculture is very much a global industry, and technologies that we invest in can be used in Norwegian salmon farming in as much as they can be used in tropical shrimp or fish farming," Krome said.

New board

Brian Wynn, the former CEO of vertically integrated shrimp farmer Rubicon Resources, joins the board after selling his own business to High Liner in 2017.

The Cargill-owned Ewos former CEO Einar Wathne was also welcomed on board after serving as Cargill Aqua Nutrition President until Jan. this year.

Founding Partner of Astanor Ventures Eric Archambeau also hopped on the advisory board as well as the Founder of the investment advisor Kaizen Reserve Kai Sato.

"Our fund advisory board has been instrumental in helping us raise the fund so far and most of our advisors are also invested themselves," Hatch Managing Partner Carsten Krome said.

Ticking all the boxes

Despite a focus on aquaculture technology, the company is shifting away from tech and moving closer to R&D.

"We look at different sectors of aquaculture and we close in on the problems the industry is facing. The kind of startups we want is based on those problem statements," Krome said.

Some of the necessary key innovations in the industry Hatch is currently exploring are fishmeal and fish oil alternatives, new diagnostic technologies and therapeutics and technology that improves biomass estimation.

"Technology is one part of any business, but in order to be successful you need other boxes ticked," Krome said.

"You need to be successful entrepreneurs, for one. If the technology isn’t perfect but we believe in the team and we believe they can do a pivot if they need to, or if they can amend their technology, then sometimes we must make the decision to invest nonetheless."

Among their existing investments, Hatch has primarily focused on companies with a focus on software.