Without disclosing the amount invested in the acquisition, Bluefront Equity announced today the acquisition of a majority stake (51%) in aquatech company Seacloud. The new acquisition of the Norway-based investment company provides cloud-based software and sensor technology for the analysis and utilization of management data for the fishing and maritime industries. The deal has been carried out through a combination of a share purchase from Seacloud's existing shareholders and a capital injection of NOK 20 million (€1.9 million / $2 million) that will be used to fund further growth both in Norway and internationally.
"There is an almost incomprehensibly large and continuously increasing amount of sensor data in the seafood industry", said Kjetil Haga, partner at Bluefront Equity. "Seacloud aggregates the data that the different sensors capture and converts it into meaningful information which in turn forms the basis for making smart operational decisions. The company is a catalyst for digitalization and streamlining of the seafood industry".
The aquatech company, founded in 2016 by Jørn-Roar Pedersen, identified a niche for smart monitoring solutions for ocean-based industries. The core of its service offering is proprietary cloud-based software that can communicate with all types of sensors, regardless of equipment type and end user. Among the sensors offered and connected by Seacloud are environmental stations, weather stations, level measurement of all types of tanks and silos, plus silage pH measurement. In addition, the company also offers full vessel integration that provides ship owners and fish farming companies with a complete overview of all vessels, as well as engine and vessel data.
"There is huge potential in this data, especially when it is put into context", claimed Seacloud's founder and head of sales and business development, Jørn-Roar Pedersen. "This is exactly what Seacloud does on behalf of fish farmers, shipowners and others. We aggregate and make the data available in order to enable more efficient operations, reduce operating costs, reduce impact on the local environment, protect biomass, reduce CO2-emissions and prevent equipment breakdowns", he added.
Bluefront Equity is investing in Seacloud through its first fund, Bluefront Capital I. We also recently learned of its investment in Naviaq, a software company that provides solutions that standardize, secure, and streamline workflows for fish farmers and operators of services and wellboats. However, that has not been the only previous investment so far this year, Seacloud is its sixth acquisition this 2022.
The digitalization and automation of the aquaculture industry are one of the company's main investment objectives. Bluefront invests primarily in small and medium-sized supplier companies that contribute to a more sustainable future seafood value chain. This objective includes increased traceability, improved fish health and welfare, enhanced quality of the end-product, plus better hygiene.
"We have so far only seen the tip of the iceberg of how sensor data can be applied as a valuable management tool for the fish farming industry, and we know that Seacloud's technology can contribute towards huge savings", Kjetil Haga claimed. "The aggregated data is also becoming increasingly important with regards to meeting higher demand for sustainability improvements and reporting".
With this majority stake, Bluefront Equity will seat three people on Seacloud's Board of Directors. The investor firm's partner Kjetil Haga will be one of them. The technology company from Alta, Northern Norway, has 14 employees at present and enters 2023 with annual recurring revenues of approximately NOK 20 million (€1.9 million / $2 million), after revenues of NOK 14 million (€1.3 million / $1.4 million) in 2021.
"We provide financing that will contribute towards the continuous development of Seacloud's software platform, to the benefit of customers, plus continued growth and increased presence closer to customers in both Norway and abroad", stated Haga. As said, all five current owners of Seacloud remain shareholders in the company.
"All current owners believe strongly in what we are aiming to achieve and therefore wanted to remain shareholders", claimed Jens-Harald Jenssen, managing director of Seacloud. "We like Bluefront Equity's approach of co-owning and developing the company in collaboration with current management and owners. They want to be in the same boat as us, and that is important to us", he added.