• Tze Venture Search Fund

    for Aquaculture Technology


    The fund has concluded.

    As aquafeed protein innovation is where the fund team had the most experience and saw the most promise, that was the focus of its search for an aquaculture technology business opportunity. Achieving its goal, the fund deployed capital from its network of investors and took leadership in the re-startup, NovoNutrients.


    NovoNutrients makes feed and food ingredients from untreated industrial emissions of carbon dioxide. Its first customers will be makers of aquaculture feed.

  • NovoNutrients

    profiled in fast company

    This Startup Turns Climate Pollution Into Fish Feed

    Fast Company | 10.17.17 | WORLD CHANGING IDEAS

    We’re harvesting too many fish from the ocean, not just for human plates, but to feed farmed fish as well. NovoNutrients wants to replace that fish food with something more sustainable: microbes grown with carbon dioxide.


    ...Recognizing that the ocean can’t keep up, one startup is working on making fish feed from another source: carbon dioxide.


    “We can take untreated flue gas from various industrial emissions . . . and just pipe it into our plant, rather than putting it in the atmosphere,” says David Tze, CEO of NovoNutrients, which is currently scaling up a system that it has proven works in a lab.


    Continues >>

  • search fund Defined

    Search funds, broadly, are vehicles for entrepreneurs to raise funds from investors interested in making private equity investments. Sometimes, they are referred to as "independent sponsors," since equity may be indicated, but not firmly committed.


    A small group of qualified investors back solo or partnered operating managers to search for a single target. Investors are able to invest a pro-rata share in the transaction, if they choose. For us, the transaction will not be a company acquisition; it will be an investment to take a governance position or to found a new company around a technology that has been acquired or licensed.


    In the final stage, the manager of the search fund takes a full-time operating role in the company. In our case, that will include operating activities in corporate finance, strategy, and business development. Titles may include: CSO/EVP, CEO, and/or Chair.


    - Loosely adapted from searchfund.org

    marine ingredients?

    While the fund is not considering entering the marine ingredients category, it does project that the mid-term, commercial future of aquafeeds include those that contain marine ingredients, as well as those that do not.


    The goal of any fund transaction with an ingredient technology will be to provide feed milling companies an additional, potential component to achieve optimal nutrition and cost.


    "'Marine species have evolved for hundreds of millions of years to eat the types of nutrients that are found in the ocean, while man has ... cultivated crops on land for thousands of years,' [Tze] said. 'There is, however, limited overlap between these two domains and that overlap is already fully exploited by existing feed formulations, which consequently must rely heavily on feeding fish to fish, in the form of fish meal and fish oil. Science is now playing a role in coming up with novel, alternative ingredients to stretch a limited amount of sustainable marine ingredients from well-managed reduction fisheries while reducing reliance on unsustainable sources, as aquaculture production goes from 50 to 100 million tons a year.'"


    - AgFunderNews, April 2017

    Launch press

    Aquaculture Investment Pioneer Launches Search Fund for an Alternative Aquafeed Technology

    Press Release by F3 Challenge, excerpts


    February 24, 2017 — Aquaculture investor, David Tze, announced today the launch of the Tze Venture Search Fund for Aquaculture Technology focused on aquaculture feed technology.


    “The new fund will do entrepreneurship through acquisition,” said Tze, who directed the first and only true venture fund for aquaculture, Aquacopia Ventures I. From its first investment more than ten years ago, Aquacopia was pivotal in creating a wave of important aquaculture companies, including the offshore farm Open Blue, equipment innovation firm InnovaSea, and the feed ingredient technology firm and affiliated Chinese joint venture iCell/Nutrinsic. Those companies put more than $200 million in capital to work in the growing aquaculture industry.


    Tze’s new search fund will focus on innovation in the aquafeed ingredients sub-sector, seeking a single aquaculture technology to acquire, operate, and grow. Since the first half of 2016, Tze has been focusing both his entrepreneurial skills and network of private investors on aquaculture technology, with a specific interest in alternative protein ingredients for aquaculture feeds. After significant winnowing, Tze said he is evaluating four alternative proteins for aquaculture feeds. While he has not publicly identified them, the pool of ingredient technology prospects includes genetics, primary nutrient production, and value-added processing. One is a distressed patent portfolio, two are companies, and one is a solo inventor.

    press archive

    Unique articles regarding the fund announcement by Global AgInvesting, GAA Advocate, Fish Farming Expert, The Fish Site, IFFO Update, Aquaculture Magazine, and Intrafish.


    F3 press release replication includes Aquaculture Directory, Aquafeed.com, and Undercurrent News, which, not entirely incorrectly, paraphrased the name of the fund as the "Search Fund for an Alternative Aquafeed Technology".


    Aquaculture’s $100bn Feed Challenge Presents Big Opportunity for Entrepreneurs

  • Who

    David Tze

    directed Aquacopia, 2004-2016


    Aquacopia Ventures I LP was the first and only venture capital fund for aquaculture. Its sole, active co-founder, David Tze, was pivotal in creating important aquaculture value chain companies that put to work over $200 million in capital, from the fund and other investors.


    David's unique sector focus within investing has made him a primary resource for education and deal flow among investors exploring aquaculture. In 2016, as managing partner of a search fund, he moved to take a more hands-on role in the next such aquaculture technology company: changing roles, from entrepreneurial financier to finance-minded entrepreneur, coach back to player; David is now CEO of NovoNutrients, the sole investment recipient of that fund.


    After coming of age in southwestern Virginia, David earned an economics A.B. at Princeton. He has advanced several established industries by applying new technology and innovative business models. A series of start-ups, at the dawn of the commercial internet, culminated with him serving as the founding CTO of Network(Oil) International. Texas’s venture-backed, online equipment marketplace for the oil and gas industry, it was acquired by the publicly-traded marketplaces group, Liquidity Services.