FRDC sponsors innovation competition

Fostering innovation and greater productivity in Australia’s fishing sector is the aim of an event that connects innovators with the investment to make their ideas a reality

Photo of signage for Fish 2.0 Sustainable Seafood Innovation Forum 2017

Improved catch methods, aquaculture innovation and new seafood products are among the focal points of a new Australian track of the 2018–19 international Fish 2.0, which brings together entrepreneurs and investors to identify and accelerate sustainable seafood business opportunities.

The FRDC’s Peter Horvat attended the most recent Fish 2.0 event, held at Stanford University in California’s Silicon Valley, to scope out the potential for an Australian event. He was excited by what he saw: 40 finalists, who rose to the top from 184 applicants, pitching their sustainable seafood ventures to more than 200 potential investors and industry experts. One finalist was Australian Thomas de Kock from Tuna Solutions, which is developing an online tuna marketing and trade platform. Others innovations pitched included ventures that improve transparency in supply chains, provide new seafood snack foods, farm and market oysters, and develop new fish feeds, among the innovations.

Fish 2.0 was founded in 2013 by Monica Jain and Remy Garderet to create a network of entrepreneurs and investors who could grow the sustainable seafood sector. The Fish 2.0 network has seen explosive growth since then, and now includes more than 400 entrepreneurs, 300 investors and 40 sponsors, all making connections that enable regional and global expansion of the sector.

“Fish 2.0 has grown enormously since 2013, but we’re still just scratching the surface,” Jain Garderet says. “We had 40 exciting entrepreneurs on stage at the 2017 Innovation Forum, and we know there are many more potentially market-moving businesses in Australia and elsewhere.”

Fish 2.0 in Australia

The 2018­­-19 Fish 2.0 Australia track will be open to ventures across Australia including those that are working on innovations in the following areas:  

  • aquaculture production and technologies, including new fish feeds and disease control;
  • changing and improving seafood supply chains;
  • new seafood products for consumers;
  • sustainable packaging and logistics, and reducing waste in seafood supply chains;
  • traceability and transparency;
  • wild-capture fisheries technologies supporting sustainability or fisher safety; and
  • algae and pearl farming.

The Australia track will launch with an in-person workshop in October for entrepreneurs and an investor networking event. Participants – as well as all other qualifying Australian seafood ventures – will then be invited to apply for the 2019 competition.

The competition will be conducted online up to the final events. It has several stages, and at each one, participants will receive invaluable feedback from investors and sustainability advisers on how they can improve their business model, practices and prospects for investment. The top-scoring ventures will be invited to present live to investors at events in Australia and in the US. There is no cost for ventures to participate, but they must apply and be invited to attend.

Investors also gain from participating in Fish 2.0: they get early insights into sustainable seafood trends and opportunities, gain access to companies that are ready for investment, and meet co-investors who are interested in the seafood sector.

Research priority

In 2018, the FRDC will support the Fish 2.0 event in Australia. The goal will be to improve the value of sustainable seafood ventures, create regional and international connections among enterprises that help ventures grow and to demonstrate a range of attractive opportunities to interested investors.

The FRDC is interested in Fish 2.0 as a way to link R&D solutions with alternate funding models that accelerate products to commercialisation. This will come about through people applying to the competition with ideas that respond to sector needs and deliver through research, development and extension.

This is in line with the FRDC’s Research, Development and Extension Plan 2015–2020 national priority two: ‘Improving productivity and profitability of fishing and aquaculture’.

The FRDC has also invested in the Fish-X program, which takes a similar approach to helping stakeholders with their approach to business and problem-solving (see 'Fishers learn to catch innovation with Fish-X' and 'Fish-X cuts to core of new business opportunities').

More information

Peter Horvat, peter.horvat@frdc.com.au
02 6285 0400, 0415 993 557

Fish 2.0, info@fish20.org