Monday, January 27, 2020

Pioneer Fund Manager On Investing in Aquaculture

From The Fish Site:

A pioneer's guide to investing in aquaculture
On the fifth anniversary of their first investment in aquaculture, Mike Velings, co-founder of Aqua-Spark, explains how the fund, the aquaculture investment landscape and the industry in general, have changed over the last five years.
With 18 companies in its portfolio Aqua-Spark is in rude health and its co-founder Mike Velings feels that their hard work is beginning to pay off.

“We’d raised €6.9 million by the start of 2015, and now have €123.6 million of assets under management. We expect it to grow to about €200 million over the coming year and for the value of our assets to continue to grow until at least 2030,” he says.
The speed at which the value of the portfolio is growing is proving very encouraging.
“Reaching the €100 million mark a few months ago was a bit of a milestone. Having got lucky with some of our investments we’re starting to see some acceleration in how they develop, which is really affecting the fund and attracting a different type of attention,” he reflects.

As the portfolio grows so does the company and Velings believes that fine-tuning his approach to investing in the sector is helping them start to gain ground more rapidly.

“We currently have a team of 15 but will probably reach 20 people by the end of 2020 – the tone is changing a little bit; there’s been an increase in professionalism. We’ve always believed in our model, but it seems like we’re now starting to see proof that doing something differently is paying off,” he explains. 

Early days
While Velings may have made his first investment in aquaculture in 2015 he had, he explained, laid a considerable amount of groundwork beforehand. Indeed, his interest in aquaculture emerged at least four years previously, having been initially sceptical of an industry that tended to be viewed with outright hostility by environmentalists.

He explains that it stemmed from a commitment to marine conservation, which was what led him to a TED-organised floating ocean conference called Mission Blue in the Galápagos in 2011. While afloat on the Pacific he met Amy Novogratz – who was to become his partner “both in life and in business” – and the pair resolved to investigate ways to safeguard marine resources.....