“Excited to share the launch of AquaFounders Capital- a land-based focused fund established in partnership with Thue Holm”, wrote Ohad Maiman on his LinkedIn this morning. Very shortly before, Thue Holm had posted something similar. “My industry colleague Ohad and I have decided to combine our experiences in land-based aquaculture and form a fund to support upcoming companies in this growing industry”, he shared. Both, the founder of The Kingfish Company and the co-founder of the Atlantic Sapphire have launched AquaFounders Capital today. “We view the current challenges in the sector precisely as an optimal time to engage with land-based companies”, Maiman has told WeAreAquaculture.
Although as founders of their former companies, they both remain on board as advisors, Ohad Maiman stepped aside as CEO of The Kingfish Company last November and Thue Holm as CTO of Atlantic Sapphire in January. When we learned about their resignations, both said they would be announcing their new projects shortly, and that time has come. In addition to making public the launch of AquaFounders Capital, the two partners today made the symbolic but significant gesture of updating their roles on LinkedIn by adding the position of “Founder and Managing Partner at Aquafounders Capital”.
Unique first-hand experience in land-based aquaculture
According to Ohad Maiman’s post, the company was born “aiming to leverage our uniques first-hand experience in the sector to support the cutting edge of the sector across the value chain”. In conversation with WeAreAquaculture, he explained why to stay focused on land-based and to create the company now. “We view the current challenges in the sector precisely as an optimal time to engage with land-based companies that may currently find it difficult to attract funding, in order for us to build a strategic position towards the next cycle of major growth”, he said.
“We believe that there are many opportunities in the supplies industry and beyond, and we’re committed to helping take land-based aquaculture to the next level”, Thue Holm had previously written in his announcement. He has further reminded that the land-based aquaculture industry is still young, and there is a lot of potential for innovation and growth. “We’re eager to support companies that are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible and making a positive impact on the environment and our food systems”, he added.
Speaking to WeAreAquaculture, his co-founder at AquaFounders Capital has explained what kind of companies they are thinking about. “We are looking specifically at 3 sub-segments of the land-based sector, with a view towards synergy and future consolidations: technology (precision farming/software/genetics), hardware (improved efficiency and reliability of critical RAS components), and unique farming business cases (high value species deployed at the right market)”, Maiman stated.
Triple requirement to decide which species to invest in
The fund will be organized along the lines of a venture capital firm, based in the EU, with investments focused primarily in Europe and North America. “However”, Maiman clarified, “we would not disqualify relevant investment opportunities elsewhere”. According to its website, the fact that its founders have spent most of the last decade engaged in key roles in the creation of The Kingfish Company and Atlantic Sapphire has given AquaFounders Capital a unique vantage point to identify and evaluate the most critical challenges and solutions needed for the land-based sector to mature and grow, “providing a unique opportunity for investors seeking exposure to the sector”.
In a previous interview with WeAreAquaculture, following his farewell to The Kingfish Company, Ohad Maiman told us: “We built a company that I wouldn’t want to compete with in yellowtail kingfish, so I’ll be looking for everything other than specifically yellowtail kingfish”. For his part, when leaving his CTO position and remaining only as an advisor at Atlantic Sapphire, Thue Holm wrote: “This new role will allow me to work on other interesting projects that are not related to land-based salmon farming”.
Whether they now maintain their idea from back then or not is something we have not yet been able to find out. “We cannot currently disclose the species we are exploring, however, they would need to fit the trifecta of being a high-value species, perform well in a land-based system, and be deployed at a market at which they are not readily available”, Ohad Maiman tells us when asked if he and his partner are thinking about any particular species or geographic area when choosing projects to invest in. Again, we will have to wait a little longer to know.
About AquaFounders Capital
AquaFounders Capital is a start-up focused on securing a strategic position in the land-based aquaculture sector, across the entire value chain. Leveraging the unique first-hand experience of its founders in building and operating two of the industry’s leading companies – Ohad Maiman is the former CEO and founder of The Kingfish Company, and Thue Holm is the former CTO and founder of Atlantic Sapphire – the company aims to identify and evaluate the most critical challenges and solutions needed for the terrestrial aquaculture sector to mature and scale, offering a unique opportunity for investors seeking exposure to the sector.