Sistema_VC Exited the Computer Vision Startup Observe Technologies
Sistema_VC sold its share in Observe Technologies to Norwegian AKVA Group with x4 of return on investment. The startup utilizes computer vision to optimize feeding process in fish farms.
Sistema_VC made its initial investment into Observe Technologies in 2017, during the seed round. AI-based products in specific industries are the firm’s main competency and the VC’s investment interest. The companies met in 2016, during a demo-day of the British startup accelerator Entrepreneur First, where Observe Technologies introduced its project to investors.
Iskander Giniyatullin, Partner at Sistema_VC, says: “We decided to invest in the company because we liked their product — applied AI for one of the promising industries, which is farming and aquaculture. The founders’ education and experience also played an important role. We think that an engineer and entrepreneur make a perfect tandem. Such a team composition usually means that the business idea has every opportunity to become a reality. We invested into the startup at a very early stage, and we weren’t wrong to do so: the return on investment was x4”.
Based on the evaluation made by Allied Market Research’s analysts, in 2019, the aquaculture and fishing industry amounted to $285 billion and will grow to $378 billion by 2027.
For Sistema_VC, this was the first investment in the agro-technologies segment. The expertise gained through working with Observe Technologies later allowed the VC to include into its portfolio other tech companies that specialize in using AI in conservative agriculture. These are Connecterra — a company that develops an AI assistant for dairy farms, and KisanHub — a cloud platform that helps optimize agriculture supply chains.
The Observe Technologies solution uses underwater cameras, computer vision, and various sensors, allowing to determine the optimal amount of feed and adjusting its consumption, taking into account the state of the environment and the fish themselves. The startup’s product is currently used in Great Britain, Chile, Canada, Norway, and Australia. You can observe your farm using the Observe Technologies solution in a browser from any part of the world.
Observe Technologies was founded by Hemang Rishi and Pieter Fabry in 2016. Ivan Makeev became one of the team’s key members — he managed AI development.
The Norwegian corporation AKVA Group, with offices in ten countries and annual revenue of $360 million, specializes in supplying equipment, technologies, and services for companies operating in the aquaculture market. In February of 2019, AKVA Group and Observe Technologies agreed upon a partnership to introduce the new AI technology to the market. Today, AKVA Group is a strategic investor in Observe Technologies: they bought out part of other investors’ shares and invested additional funds into the company. Observe Technologies founders remain with the controlling interest. A strategic investor like AKVA Group can help the company increase its share of the market.