Aquabyte recently announced the completion of its series B financing of US$25 million, led by SoftBank Ventures Asia. Aquabyte, which uses computer vision and artificial intelligence (AI) to give fish farms insight into the health and growth of their fish, says that the funding will be used to continue its mission of transforming aquaculture to meeting growing global demand for sustainable protein.

By 2050, it is estimated that there will be a 50 percent protein gap worldwide, and farmed fish is the most sustainable and efficient protein source to fill that gap. Aquabyte has built international, cross-disciplinary teams working in fish welfare, AI and engineering, using practices drawn from salmon farms in Norway.

"Before Aquabyte, it was virtually impossible for fish farms to monitor the health of their underwater fish," explains Bryton Shang, Founder and CEO of Aquabyte. "Our engineering team solved that problem with a smart underwater camera that can accurately detect lice, monitor other welfare indicators, and identify and weigh individual fish without removing them from the water."

"Our fish welfare biologists work with our AI teams to transform those images and underwater signals into real-time data … Farms can take immediate action to improve the health and growth of their fish with less waste and fewer treatments," Mr Shang adds.

Sherman Li, Partner at SoftBank Ventures Asia, expressed that he was "proud" to be supporting Aquabyte in their journey. "By combining machine learning and computer vision with fish welfare insights, Aquabyte is leading a transformation in the aquaculture and food industry," he says.

The Nature Conservancy and Westerly Wind also joined the round as new investors.

"We firmly believe embracing technology is the solution for a more sustainable future," explains Karim Abdel-Ghaffar Plaza, Managing Partner at Westerly Winds. "Aquabyte in our opinion is a clear leader, enabling the path towards a healthier aquaculture industry needed to feed the growing world population. We're tremendously excited to be backing the team and business in the years to come."

Original investors New Enterprise Associates, Costanoa Ventures, ArcTern Ventures, Struck Capital and Alliance Venture participated in the round as they pointed out Aquabyte's achievements since its Series A funding in 2019.

Since the funding, the company now has hundreds of systems installed worldwide monitoring salmon and trout, established offices in the US, Norway and Chile, has processed over 300 million fish images, and was the first to receive approval for automatic sea lice counting by the Norwegian Food Safety Authorities.

"Mass market appeal and the potential for positive global impact make for very exciting investment opportunities – Aquabyte has both," says Greg Papadopoulos, Venture Partner at NEA. "We're thrilled to continue partnering with the Aquabyte team to go through this next phase of growth."

With this Series B round of funding, Aquabyte has raised a total of US$46 million since its founding in 2017. It will use the financing to scale its business, to monitor more species in more countries and help fish farms sustainably feed the world.

"It turns out that when you improve fish welfare and sustainability, you solve problems in efficiency as well," concludes Mr Shang.

For more information on Aquabyte visit their website, HERE.

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