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Your future shrimp dish may come from Atlaya's farming technology – TechCrunch

Atarraya, creator of Shrimpbox, a sustainable “plug and play” shrimp farming technology, has emerged after being in stealth mode since 2019. New US headquarters in Indianapolis.

The company claims it’s the “first in the world” technology of its kind, and Atarraya founder and CEO Daniel Russek told TechCrunch that Shrimpbox started working as a non-governmental organization after graduating from college in 2005. He said it was an idea that came to him when he started working with. fishing community.

That evolved into aquaculture technology, and Russek and his team launched a related start-up called Maricultura Vigas. The company was primarily focused on the biotech aspect of aquaculture, which included the challenge of raising shrimp in a closed-loop system.

“We wanted to make our shrimp business more sustainable and efficient without destroying the environment,” says Russek. “We decided to bet on this technology and became a startup. We raised some money and got some grants from the Mexican government.”

In 2019, however, the company realized the challenge was a little bigger than its founders had previously anticipated. Russek felt that in addition to biotechnology, he also needed software and automation components. So they founded Atarraya, a US-based company tasked with making shrimp farming technology sustainable and affordable.

The shrimpbox farm system allows farmers to become vertical farming operations. This includes freight containers that can be placed inland and moved to meet production needs.

These three technologies include biofloc technology, which creates an ideal environment to protect shrimp from disease, does not require antibiotics or harsh chemicals, and minimizes the need for drainage. can grow shrimp. Then there is the software aspect that enables remote operational management of data-mapped production and workflows, facilitating training and execution of agricultural tasks. Finally, artificial intelligence-powered automation and engineering components are designed to remotely monitor water quality, adjust temperature and oxygenation, and feed shrimp.

“This technology is basically all about hypermodular solutions,” says Russek. “The idea is that we can build Shrimpboxes anywhere in the world that are plug-and-play ready to use and can be efficiently transported using intermodal transport systems.”

Atlaya Shrimp Box

Atarraya’s Shrimpbox aims to grow shrimp sustainably. Image credit: Atraliya

It has now raised $3.9 million in Series A angel funding, and the first Shrimpbox prototype is currently being assembled in Guapinor, Oaxaca, Mexico, and is partnering with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation to provide training and support later this year. A demonstration farm will be opened.

The funding was led by Jeffrey Holling and a group of angel investors including Mark K. Gormley, Jeffrey Kalish, Robert Stavis and Robert Goodman. According to Russek, this brings Atarraya’s total funding to date to his $10 million.

The company has grown its operations in Mexico fivefold between 2020 and 2021. Russek expects Atarraya to launch his early adopter program in 2023 and start scaling later this year.

“With that growth, we are now in a very strong position to influence the industry,” he added. to create infrastructure and technology that is as easy to use as a washing machine so that anyone can become a shrimp farmer.”

Atraya uses real shrimp, but lab-grown, plant-based alternatives are also getting VC love this year. For example, South Korea-based CellMEAT raised $8.1 million for his lab-grown shrimp.