Tech

Rooser raises $23 million for its seafood trading platform – TechCrunch


Valuable Global Fishing Market 253 billion dollars in 2021, and although argumentative around the industry, that number continues to grow. Today, a startup that has built a platform to make its fishing business more efficient – and therefore the overall process easier to track and less wasteful – is announcing a funding round to go on that wave. Rooseroffers a fish sourcing marketplace aimed at both anglers and buyers for wholesale, trade or retail, has raised $23 million – funding they will use both to expand into more markets and continue to build more functionality into its platform.

Today, the company’s focus is on inventory management, providing tools to help suppliers manage this, as well as process and track sales and assess the broader market for their products. Soon, the plan will be to combine more quality control tools, supply chain finance, personalization for buyers and sellers to connect more capable transactions; and beyond, the startup will also bring more business intelligence and analytics into the mix for its customers.

Index Ventures is leading the round, with participation from GV (formerly Google Ventures) and Point Nine Capital, as well as Figma CEO and co-founder Dylan Field, and David Nothacker, co-founder and Director executive of freight and transportation startup Sendnder,

The crux of the problem Rooser is aiming to solve is that fishing is a huge and growing industry, but it is built on a foundation of key inefficiencies – inefficiencies that have repeatedly proved to be catastrophic for not only businesses, but also for economic and ecological ecosystems more broadly.

Joel Watt – CEO who co-founded the company with Chief Commercial Officer Nicolas Desormeaux, COO Erez Mathan and CTO Thomas Quiroga – witnessed the situation first-hand while he was running his own fishing business. .

A trained accountant, Watt hails from the north of Scotland (with an American accent that is sometimes hard to penetrate), and after many years working for a large company, he returns to his hometown and her roots to start fishing business. – not a budding big data analytics game and tech-driven marketplace, but a real fishing operation, wet floors, cold rooms and yellow boots following in his family’s footsteps , with both his father and grandfather also working as fishermen.

In his nearly 10 years running, he’s scaled that business to 50 people and £10 million in revenue, “and that’s when we started to see how inefficient it was,” he said. . The biggest problem with the fishing business, he said, is uncertainty.

“You have the boats and the fisheries, the people who turn the produce into things you can eat, the wholesalers and distributors, and then the restaurants and the fishmongers. All of that requires one-on-one communication, but the reality is there are so many actors and so many prices,” he said. Huge market – 140,000 relevant business organizations in Europe only – but often those who work without any background to reach a broader customer base and manage relationships That system can only handle 20 contracts at a time, no matter how many fish they have to sell.

On the subject of fish for sale, that is also a problem. There are 250 types of fish commonly sold in the fishing industry, but when you add in the size range and other variables it gives what Watt says is 35,000 SKUs and there is little consistency in pricing across the board. that panorama. “Nobody knows how much anything costs.”

Add to that many layers of people in the chain and stages that each person manages, and the delay leads to the creation of a highly perishable product, and you have a messy situation. Out of every two fish or other seafood taken out of the water, only one is eaten.

So Watt did what any accountant around building and running a fishing business can do: he set out to look at software that could help manage the business aspects of the business. its activities. Rooser is a word in the Doric dialect used in the Watt region of Scotland, and it means “watering can”.

“A member of my fishing business team commented that we always seem to have to put out a fire somewhere,” Watt said. The idea is that the software Rooser is now helping fight those fires. Indeed, that software, called Sea.Store, worked and others started asking for it, too.

Buyers on the platform can source seafood from 13 different countries, although Iceland, Watt said, is the country with the largest supply at the moment. As for buyers, France now accounts for 95% of total sales.

France is indeed a huge market for seafood, but it is not the only one. Rooser said promoting it for the sake of the buyer was Rooser’s intention.

We wanted to integrate with one market and then develop a supply side,” he said. “We can now easily move to other countries as we spread across Europe.”

Georgia Stevenson, Index partner who led the investment, says that part of the interest for Index here is how successful Rooser has so far in addressing the needs of this particular vertical, and built the market to match that.

“It allows for less waste, but it also just empowers seafood traders to do their jobs better,” she said. And while there have been many critics of the fishing industry for overfishing in its operations, which drains stocks; Stevenson said she believes Rooser has solved both of these problems. “We have been investing in portfolios and infrastructure to be more sustainable, and we see Rooser consistently with that.”



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