Gulf Coast fisheries face unprecedented threats and there is a strong need to make the region’s seafood industry more sustainable.
Despite these pressures, innovation has been slow to take hold in an industry that has historically lacked access to financial and intellectual capital.
Fish 2.0 was founded to solve just this kind of problem. Since 2013, the organization has funneled more than $60 million in private capital to seafood startups all over their world.
Their unique pitch-competition model brings together entrepreneurs, investors and other industry stakeholders to drive sustainable innovation within the sector.
We had seen the Fish 2.0 model work in other markets and knew it could be successful in the Gulf region. There was only problem: Fish 2.0 had no representation in the Southeast.
We stepped in to fill this gap, spearheading the creation of a Southeastern regional track during Fish 2.0’s 2017 competition.
Over the course of six months, we worked with the organization’s leadership and other seafood stakeholders to recruit qualified startups, coordinate regional media outreach and facilitate a regional workshop in Wilmington, North Carolina.
Dozens of startups from the Southeast participated in the 2017 competition. Of these, six Southeastern companies proceeded to the Fish 2.0 finals, held at Stanford University in November of 2017
The competition resulted in substantial media coverage — including articles in National Geographic, Impact Alpha, Civil Eats, Pacific Standard, Agfunder and dozens of other outlets.
It also kick-started investor interest at a pivotal time, with billions of dollars in restoration funds from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill poised to flow into the Gulf Coast economy.