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

The fishing market was worth $253 billion worldwide in 2021, and despite the controversy swirling around the industry, that figure continues to grow. Today, a startup that has built a platform to make fishing more efficient — and thus the process in general more traceable and less prone to waste — is announcing a round of funding to ride that wave. Rooser, which provides a market for sourcing seafood aimed at both those who fish and those who buy for wholesale, trade or retail, has raised $23 million — funding it will use to both expand into more markets and more functionality in its platform.

Today, the company’s focus is on inventory management, providing tools to help suppliers manage it, as well as transact and track sales and assess the broader market for their products. Soon the plan will be to incorporate more quality control tools, supply chain financing, personalization for buyers and sellers to connect more likely transactions; furthermore, the startup will also bring more business intelligence and analytics into the mix for its clients.

Index Ventures leads this round, which also includes GV (formerly Google Ventures) and Point Nine Capital, as well as Figma CEO and co-founder Dylan Field, and David Nothacker, co-founder and CEO of freight and freight startup Sender,

The crux of the problem Rooser is trying to solve is that fishing is a huge and growing industry, but it’s built on the back of major inefficiencies — inefficiencies that have proven time and time again to be disastrous for more than just businesses. , but for wider economic and ecological ecosystems.

Joel Watt, the CEO who founded the company along with Chief Commercial Officer Nicolas Desormeaux, COO Erez Mathan and CTO Thomas Quiroga, saw this situation firsthand when he ran his own fishing company.

Originally an accountant by training, Watt hails from the north of Scotland (with an accent that sometimes found it difficult to penetrate my American ear), and after years of working for a large company, he returned to his roots and hometown to create a starting a fishing business – not a technology-based marketplace and nascent big data analytics game, but a real fishing on wet floors, cold rooms and yellow boots following in the footsteps of his family, with both his father and grandfather also involved in fishing worked.

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

“You have the boats and fisheries, the ones that turn the produce into things you can eat, wholesalers and distributors, and then restaurants and fishmongers. They all need one-to-one communication, but in reality there are many actors and many price points,” he said. The market is huge – 140,000 related business entities in Europe alone – but typically those who operate without relying on a platform to access wider customer bases and manage those relationships can only handle 20 contracts at a time, regardless of how much fish they have to sell.

As for the sale of fish, that also plays a role. There are typically 250 types of fish sold in the fishery, but when you add in the range of sizes and other variables, it adds up to what Watts said, 35,000 SKUs, and there’s little consistency in pricing across that landscape. “Nobody knows how much something costs.”

Add to that the many layers of people in the chain and the phases they each manage, and the delays that come with a highly perishable product, and you have a messy situation. For every two fish or other seafood removed from the water, only one is eaten.

So Watt did what any accountant would do to build and run a fishing business: He started looking at software that could help manage the business aspects of his business. Rooser is a Doric dialect word used in the Watt region of Scotland, meaning ‘watering can’.

“A team member in my fishing company made a comment about how we always seemed to put out a fire somewhere,” Watt said. The idea is that Rooser now helps the software put out those fires. That software, called Sea.Store, was indeed effective and others started using it too.

Buyers on the platform can source seafood from 13 different countries, although Iceland is currently the largest sourcing country, Watt said. In terms of buyers, France currently accounts for 95% of all sales.

France is indeed a very large seafood market, but it is not the only one. Boosting it as the main buyer was intentional on Rooser’s part, he said.

“We wanted to get fit in one market and then develop a supply side,” he said. “Now we can easily move to other countries while spreading across Europe.”

Georgia Stevenson, the Index partner who led the investment, said part of the interest in Index here was how successful Rooser has been to date in addressing the needs of this particular industry and building a market that meets them. coming.

“It reduces waste, but it also allows fishmongers to do their job better,” she said. And while there are many critics who accuse the fishing industry of going too far in their activities and depleting resources; and the industry itself also seems to be getting more and more bureaucratic, Stevenson said she believed Rooser was tackling both issues. “We’ve invested in categories and infrastructure to be more sustainable and we see Rooser as consistent with that.”

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

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