SeafoodSource.com: Q&A with Mike Velings, co-founder of Aqua-Spark
Aqua-Spark, an investment fund focused on sustainable aquaculture and related technologies and services, recently invested USD 4 million (EUR 3.5 million) in two up-and-coming aquaculture firms: Menlo Park, Calif.-based Calysta and Chicoa Fish Farm in Mozambique, Africa.
Based in the Netherlands, Aqua-Spark was co-founded in 2013 by entrepreneur Mike Velings and Amy Novogratz, former director of the TED Prize. SeafoodSource recently caught up with Velings to discuss why the investment fund believes in its current projects, and how much money it will be investing in global aquaculture in the future.
Blank: Why did you and Amy Novogratz believe there was a need for aquaculture industry funding?
Velings: I have been an entrepreneur since I was 18 and have been an investor in the United Kingdom for several years. We met each other on Mission Blue, a floating TED conference in 2010 that was organized around the TED Prize awarded to Sylvia Earle. One hundred scientists, investors, celebrities, concerned citizens and NGOs joined forces to see what they could do for our oceans. Amy was running the TED Prize program back then. We both got really inspired and started looking for a way to contribute and build something that could last. In our search, we came across the work our partner WorldFish is doing (promoting aquaculture to get people out of poverty), which got us really excited. Ever since, we have been building and constructing what is now Aqua-Spark.