Yes, you read that right. Norwegian startup MiniPro beat four other finalists to take home NOK1 million in funding after winning the final round of the Angel Challenge pitch competition at the Startup Extreme conference in Bergen, Norway. With the aquaculture sector in Norway continuing to grow, MiniPro aims to solve an industry-specific issue of live feed production for fishes- besides being an expensive process, live feed supply is often limited, and adding to the problem is the fact that fish larvae aren’t able to digest nutrients in artificial feed.
So how does MiniPro fix this issue? By developing and producing baby food specifically for baby fish. Through a series of R&D experiments, MiniPro has been able to develop an alternative for live feed that can be easily consumed by fishes. The startup’s solution comes at an opportune time, as the aquaculture industry is growing in markets like the European Union, Eastern Europe, U.S. and Asia.
According to the Norwegian Seafood Council, Norway has exported salmon worth NOK57.7 billion in 2015, which increased 9% from NOK3.9 billion in 2014, despite a closed border with Russia. TechCrunch remarked that a noticeable trait among Norwegian startup scene is that it focuses on traditionally strong markets such as oil, gas, shipping and fish. The country’s government is also getting in on the startup scene- it had, along with Innovation Norway, a government organization dedicated to developing the country’s enterprises, given away NOK100 million in capital to match investments in Norwegian startups.
Certainly, with all of its increased efforts to support startups through mentorship, training and financial assistance- we can’t wait to see more from the nascent ecosystem. And MiniPro’s success just goes to show that sometimes, entrepreneurs need to take a close look at a nation’s constant problems and create solutions for it.