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Scots-based fish trading platform raises £17m

Fish traders get certain safeguards

Scottish start-up Rooser, which aims to speed up fish sales transaction and cut waste, has secured more than £17 million from investors. 

Index Ventures, Google Ventures and Point Nine Capital are among those which have backed the Edinburgh-based online platform for fish traders. Its processing team is in the fishing port of Boulogne-Sur-Mer in northern France.

Joel Watt, who has spent eight years in the industry and co-founded the business with Nicolas Desormeaux in 2019, said: “In the long run, what we’re building should help us to understand and manage global fish stocks more responsibly, to see where our seafood comes from and to ensure the best-quality produce ends up on plates.”

He says that for every two fish that end up on plates one goes to waste and this can be improved by better management of the supply chain – fisheries, primary processors, wholesalers and buyers.

For every sale, Rooser creates an insurance policy between the supplier and buyer, using major insurers like Lloyds of London and Euler Hermes. It claims that suppliers never need to worry about non-payment.

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Mr Watt studied accountancy, remortgaged his parent’s house with a cousin and started a fish factory in north east Scotland, buying fish and exporting it to France. They found that 14 processes were involved.

Although more than €140bn worth of fish is traded in Europe each year involving 140,000 wholesalers and 40,000 processing plants, the sector is largely untouched by tech and innovation.

To streamline its processes, Mr Watt’s factory developed a software system and began trading fish for other companies online.  It is now active in 13 countries across Europe, focused on the transaction between the processing plants and the wholesalers.

“All of the fish start off perfect, but they go into a chain that’s not got an efficient communication method, which contributes to the amount of fish wasted,” Mr Watt told the website Sifted.

With Rooser, those transactions can happen more quickly and the fish can move more easily to other parts of the supply chain, which cuts the time between sea and plate and, ultimately, saves on food waste.

The company has grown its top team, hiring a former COO of GoCardless, Erez Mathan, and Thomas Quiroga, who previously founded digital agency Beyondr, as CTO.

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