Quebec City company XpertSea is raising $25 million in series B funding (US $20 million).
The round was led by QED Investors and Atlantico. Investissement Quebec also chipped in, as did existing investors Obvious Ventures, Aqua-Spark, Tony Fadell’s Future Shape, Real Ventures and edō Capital. QED partner Lauren Morton will join XpertSea’s board.
“We founded XpertSea with the firm belief that technology and data will unlock aquaculture’s enormous potential to be the most sustainable source of protein available to feed our planet. For years, we worked towards this mission by helping farmers farm more successfully, and more recently by providing them access to cash flow and market opportunities,” said CEO Valerie Robitaille.
XpertSea says it leverages AI technology to help farmers modernize operations and boost profits, by providing access to fast payments, valuable production insights and vetted networks of sellers and buyers. In fact, XpertSea boasts that it pays shrimp farmers up to 80 percent at harvest.
Robitaille leads the company, along with another familiar cofounder: her mother, Sylvie Lavigne.
“A decade ago we were a team of four, and today we number more than 60 people,” Robitaille told The Fish Site. “What once was a small Canadian startup now provides unique working opportunities for our teams in Asia and Latin America.”
The company says that by 2050 our planet will need 70 percent more food production to feed 10 billion people. Aquaculture, they say, represents one of the most efficient and sustainable ways to supply that quality protein, “but technology gaps and the lack of financial services to underbanked farmers are major barriers to growth.”
That’s where the company comes in. XpertSea says it solves these problems with “the first data-driven marketplace that uses AI and financial services to connect shrimp farmers with a network of vetted buyers and ensure same day payment.” Using their phone and XpertSea’s smartphone app, farmers can capture reliable crop data, transact with buyers and receive payment within 24 hours of harvest.
The company says it will use the new cash to move into new markets and expand its financial services and new product development. The company is currently hiring for positions in Toronto, Quebec City and its international markets.
With an office in Guayaquil, Ecuador, just 140 kms away from the Pacific Ocean, XpertSea says it achieved a 1000 percent revenue growth in Latin America last year.