“It is impossible to overstate the importance of our oceans to life on earth. Sustainably managed and healthy ocean ecosystems are a pillar of global environmental recovery, a driver of economic growth, and a foundation for food security and human health.”
- Kate Danaher, S2G Ventures Managing Director
Since we launched our Ocean and Seafood fund last year, co-Managing Director Kate Danaher and I have been enthused by our opportunity to invest behind entrepreneurs who are building scalable solutions for a more sustainable and resilient ocean ecosystem. Over the past nine months, our team has connected with hundreds of entrepreneurs, fund managers, foundations, accelerators, non-profits, and universities across the world learning how they think about our ocean resources, what issues they care about, and where they see the greatest need for a partner like S2G.
We have been inspired to see a wave of technologies and innovations under development by industry leaders who are dedicating their time and talent to regenerate our fragile oceans. Likewise, we are emboldened by the growing number of investors focused on oceans or reaching out to us to learn more about the sector and potential opportunities.
We have channeled our team’s professional experience and learnings from these ecosystem meetings into an initial investment framework for our fund - where we will lead a path with entrepreneurs to catalyze step-change solutions for ocean ecosystems, global climate challenges, and human health.
Our focus divides into three interdependent pillars: Ecosystem Resilience, Resource Optimization, and Consumer Centricity. We believe that investing globally across these pillars will drive systemic changes to improve the trajectory of ocean health, while generating above average financial returns.
In keeping with the legacy of S2G, we are committed to a consumer focused and data driven systems investing approach: aligning markets and incentives to de-risk the ocean supply chain and maximize the value of natural resources to promote healthy oceans, climate resilience and food security. Our ambition is to capitalize on interrelated technological, environmental, and financial synergies and facilitate partnerships that spur further innovation and improvements.
Marine resources are the foundation of life. From regulating the climate to producing valuable resources, the Ocean provides us incalculable economic, social, environmental, and cultural benefits. Ensuring marine ecosystem resilience - it’s ability to adapt to changing conditions and recover from disruptions - is paramount to ensuring sustainable life on Earth, especially as disruptions like pollution and ocean acidification are becoming increasingly frequent and severe.
We are interested in technologies and innovations that prioritize protection and regeneration of ocean resources, benefit climate health, and help us understand and monitor the ocean in new ways and greater depth. Focus areas include, but are not limited to preventing invasive species or illegal fishing, reducing pollution, developing new material science applications, capturing and interpreting ocean data, harvesting and processing macro and microalgae, and sequestering carbon.
Today, seafood represents 20% of globally consumed animal protein, and is projected to play an increasing role in effectively addressing food and nutritional security for 10 billion people by 2050. Increase in seafood demand has been met with a decrease in fish stock. The capture of wild fish has leveled off since the mid-1980s and many fish populations are severely threatened. In order to meet rising demand without continuing to harm our oceans, we must focus on sustainable growth.
Our strategy in this area is to invest in technologies that will create systemic shifts across the industry with sustainable new products and production techniques which de-risk processes and maximize the value of the resources. We are excited about new solutions emerging in the areas of precision harvesting and aquaculture, sustainable and alternative fish feeds, animal vaccines / therapeutics, genomics, clean shipping and transportation efficiencies, production technology, and new forms of packaging.
Rising global incomes, changing demographics and lifestyles, and shifting preferences due to new understandings of the links between diet and health and between food production and environmental impact are contributing to demands for new and different types of foods. Consumers are increasingly demanding information about their food’s freshness, health benefits, sourcing, and sustainability. Seafood is no exception.
As a consumer-focused fund, we aim to invest in companies at the forefront of this change. We are looking for products and technologies that cater to developing consumer demands for healthier and sustainable food products, including plant and cellular based alternative proteins, new forms of edible marine products, pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals, consumer facing information platforms, and novel go-to-market strategies.
Taking the Helm
There is no aspect of life on Earth that is not intertwined with and impacted by the state of our oceans. We have so much to gain from promoting thriving and resilient ocean ecosystems and even more to lose from exploiting and degrading them. Data, technology, public awareness, and the pressing need for innovation are all converging on the precipice of incredible advancements in our understanding of marine ecosystems.
Our aim with the S2G Oceans and Seafood fund is to bring our systems investing approach to meet this opportunity and to support solutions that will turn the tides of ocean decline and help rebuild marine environments so they can continue to provide priceless ecosystem services for people and the planet.
We see limitless opportunities to improve our oceans, however the sector is underfunded, under-researched and in need of additional innovative talent. Achieving our vision of a more sustainable and resilient ocean ecosystem will require long-term collaboration between investors, entrepreneurs, strategic partners. We look forward to engaging with partners interested in affecting real change and hope you will join us.