Minnowtech Closes Series A Financing Led by Propel Baltimore Fund, with Participation from Maryland Momentum Fund, Abell Foundation, and TEDCO

Minnowtech Provides Shrimp Farmers Real-Time Insights into Shrimp Population and Biomass to Meet Surging Global Demand

Baltimore, MD (Feb. 26, 2024) Minnowtech, a Baltimore-based aquaculture technology company, announced today that it closed a Series A funding round led by the Propel Baltimore Fund, with participation from the University System of Maryland (USM) Momentum Fund (Momentum Fund), Abell Foundation, and TEDCO Seed Funds.

“The University System of Maryland was a part of Minnowtech before it was even a company. The REEF entrepreneurship program at IMET, research funding from MIPS, mentorship from so many USM alumni, and then seed financing from the Maryland Momentum Fund that included participation by UMCES,” said Minnowtech CEO and co-founder Suzan Shahrestani. “It’s amazing to see that continuum of support extend into this current round of funding and have USM be an ongoing part of our success.”

The Institute of Marine Environmental Technology’s (IMET) Ratcliffe Environmental Entrepreneur Fellowship (REEF) provided training and pre-seed funding as part of Shahrestani’s graduate school education at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES). Additionally, the Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS), administered through the University of Maryland, College Park, funded initial testing of shrimp growth cycles for Minnowtech.

“We’re excited by Minnowtech’s potential to service the $50 billion and growing global shrimp farming market,” said Chris College, Managing Partner of TCP Venture Capital’s Propel Baltimore Fund. “They’re solving a big problem, and we look forward to being a part of their growth.”

Minnowtech’s groundbreaking technology empowers shrimp farmers by providing real-time insights into their ponds’ shrimp population and biomass. By leveraging precise sonar imaging techniques, Minnowtech enables farmers to optimize their harvests and profits to enhance their livelihoods.

“We’re delighted to continue our support for Minnowtech and join an outstanding syndicate of Maryland-based investors in this new financing round,” said Mike Ravenscroft, Managing Director of the Momentum Fund. “Minnowtech is creating significant value for their global customer base. We look forward to supporting their efforts as they scale the venture here in Maryland.”

Minnowtech was co-founded by Shahrestani and Early Charm, a company that transforms university research into tangible products manufactured in Baltimore’s Pigtown neighborhood.

“We’ve grown Minnowtech because we’ve matched up with the right partners along the way. Internationally, that meant partnering with UK-based marine hardware manufacturer OTAQ Group, and the global aquaculture experts at HATCH,” said Ken Malone, Executive Officer of Minnowtech’s co-founder Early Charm. “Locally, that meant the incredible investment group of Propel, Abell, Momentum, and TEDCO, because they share our desire for manufacturing in Baltimore and bringing the economic benefits of our success to the Maryland community that made it all possible.”

Minnowtech also received funding from the National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research program and performed development work on shrimp farms in Hawaii through support from the state of Hawaii.

“While we had the science and business skills in Maryland, there were no shrimp farms here. Kauai Shrimp allowed us to work with them on our early device testing and the state of Hawaii helped support that work,” said Kelli Booth, Executive Officer of Minnowtech’s co-founder Early Charm. “Since those early days, we’ve expanded operations with sales to Ecuador, Vietnam, and Australia. This new funding will allow us to respond to the purchase requests of shrimp farmers in Indonesia, Thailand, Peru, and Saudi Arabia.”


About MINNOWTECH

Founded in 2018, we supply sonar systems to shrimp farmers around the world enabling them to maximize growth, minimize feed cost, detect mortality from disease early, recognize theft, and optimize operations. Our co-founder Dr. Suzan Shahrestani leveraged her extensive knowledge of machine vision and marine animal behavior to lead the development of our technology.  Today, our business partner OTAQ Group supplies us with precision sonar equipment that we integrate into a complete sonar system at our manufacturing facility operated by Early Charm in Baltimore.

About the University System of Maryland Momentum Fund

The Maryland Momentum Fund is an initiative of the University System of Maryland (USM) to provide late seed investment funding for promising technology ventures that come out of any of the 12 constituent USM institutions, its research parks, and its students, faculty, or graduates. With a $16M commitment from the USM, the Fund co-invests alongside venture capitalists, foundation and angel investors.
 

The Maryland Momentum Fund was established by the USM Board of Regents to support promising commercial opportunities arising from advances in research and intellectual property at USM campuses. The Fund is designed to create returns and support USM’s most innovative ideas as they enter the marketplace. Learn more about the Fund and view the portfolio companies at https://momentum.usmd.edu/


Media Contacts
MINNOWTECH
Ken Malone

410-929-2305
Ken.malone@earlycharm.com

Contact: Mike Lurie
Phone: 301.445.2719
Email: mlurie@usmd.edu

Source: University System of Maryland