Southeast Venture Holdings, the venture capital arm of Seven Holdings, a US fund management and advisory company, has acquired a Siberian sturgeon and caviar production operation from Mote Marine Laboratory, a non-profit research centre and aquarium.
While the deal value was not disclosed, Southeast Venture’s investment range is between $1 million and $25 million, or into companies with a $100 million market capitalisation, according to its website.
Southeast Venture will integrate the fish and caviar operation into its Healthy Earth brand of sustainable food businesses. Healthy Earth was established to develop commercial-scale businesses across the sustainable food sector. This includes natural feed supplements, biological alternatives to chemical pesticides and fertilizers and sustainable aquaculture and agriculture production.
“Through the domain expertise of our partners in areas such as aquaculture, aquaponics, microbiology, farm management and food distribution, we are developing responsible and commercially viable alternatives to how sustainable foods are produced and sold,” said Christopher Cogan, general partner at Southeast Venture and soon-to-be chief executive of Healthy Earth, in a statement.
For Mote, the deal brings to an end its first aquaculture research investment which it made in 2001.
“Mote made an investment in sturgeon aquaculture operations because we wanted to demonstrate that growing fish for food could be done using environmentally sound systems and practices that would also be financially feasible on a commercial scale,” said Kevan Main, manager of Mote’s Marine and Freshwater Aquaculture Research Program. “Over the years, Mote has led the development of recirculating aquaculture technologies and has demonstrated that these systems are both environmentally sound and financially feasible to operate. Now, the Siberian sturgeon farm is ready for the next step in growth that this agreement with Seven Holdings will bring.”
The sale includes the commercialisation of Mote’s research and investment into Mote’s ongoing research in this field at an aquaculture park in Florida, according to a statement.
Alongside sustainable foods and marine science, Southeast Venture targets life science and drug discovery; human health and performance; information technology and digital media; and clean energy, according to its website. Southeast Venture sources deals from larger venture capital funds, universities and incubators and strategic players, according to its website.
The VC firm was formed by three venture capital veterans – Russell Vernon, Ross Barrett and Christopher Cogan – who between them worked at BVM Capital, Morgan Stanley and Area 32 Ventures.