Fishermen receive on average 20% more per catch with the digital marketplace
Peniche,15th of July 2020- Bitcliq a startup whose platform Lota Digital acts as a marketplace between fisherman and retail buyers of fresh fish will today sign an investment agreement with the Social Innovation Fund (“FIS”), in the port town of Peniche - a vote of confidence by FIS in the digital transformation of the primary sector and the digitization of the blue economy. The investment of 350 thousand euros from FIS will mark the close on an investment round of 1 million euros which has seen previous commitments from Indico Capital Partners and LC ventures.
The event will be symbolically held at Peniche’s fish market where Lota Digital had its start in 2019. To mark the occasion, the Secretary of State for Planning, José Gomes Mendes, and the Secretary of State for Fisheries, José Apolinário, will be in attendance.
The investment not only aims to continue to improve Bitcliq’s technology but also to prepare the company to grow and expand to further ports in order to optimize the logistical process and catalyze the digital transformation of fisheries on a national level.
According to Stephan Morais, Managing General Partner at Indico Capital Partners, “This co-investment from the Social Innovation Fund will reinforce Bitcliq’s commitment to socially responsible investments and also our own firm’s adherence to upholding the spirit of the UN’s Principles for Responsible Investing. We look forward to working alongside FIS in this investment and contributing to more sustainable fisheries, fair pricing and species tracking from sea to table.”
The Lota Digital platform was born out of a strategic partnership with Docapesca, which is the state owned enterprise in charge of the sale and pricing of fish nationally. Having begun with a pilot in the port of Peniche the platform has grown to encompass currently three dozen fishing vessels, representing artisanal fishing fleets - those that focus on high valued species. The platform has afforded fishermen with the opportunity to receive on average 20% more for their daily catch while consistently serving a large range of clients from restaurants and fishmonger to supermarkets and wholesalers. Recently, german retailer Makro (Metro Group) became a major customer given the platform´s quality and commitment to fairer and more transparent trade.
The platform is already integrated with Docapesca’s system which has authorized it to automatically register the fresh fish while still at sea. This allows the fisherman to sell while still at the sea, followed by partners packaging and transport of the fish to the final destination, which is highly convenient. Several features of the platform have attracted fisherman and retailers to the marketplace, such as the novel use of AI to automate quality control and species recognition as well as the use of blockchain technology to facilitate traceability and decentralized transactions. In the words of Pedro Araújo Manuel, founder and CEO of Bitcliq, “The investment by FIS is a recognition of the hard work our team has put in place, our perseverance and the vision of a more sustainable future for the consumption of fresh fish.”
According to Marco Fernandes, President of PME Investimentos (the entity which oversees FIS) “The main goal of FIS is to enable social innovation by supporting the creation of innovative business models which will impact the life of people and organizations. We see those characteristics in Bitcliq and its platform Lota Digital which ingeniously applies technology to improve both the income and quality of life for fishermen while on the other hand providing end consumers with visibility from the moment the fish is caught to the moment it lands on their plate. For those reasons it is with the utmost pleasure that PME investimentos has co-invested in Lota Digital, through FIS, in partnership with Indico which will be of great help, given their experience, in its path to growth.”