Nordic Aquafarms founders are betting on a new RAS concept

Aslak Berge

New farming plans in the USA.

At the beginning of July, it was announced that Erik Heim and his wife Marianne Næss had left the land-based farming company Nordic Aquafarms, which they had co-founded. Nordic Aquafarms already operates fish farms on land in Denmark, Norway, and has well-advanced plans to establish itself in the USA.

The investment in Maine, on the American east coast, has also met with a lot of local opposition, and construction of facilities has still not started.

Heim stated to SalmonBusiness, after the exit announcement, that he and Marianne Næss (Nordic Aquafarm’s commercial director) are not leaving Maine.

“I like it here. And I’m not done with the industry. My future focus will go beyond Maine’s state borders,” he said. 

Now the duo lifts the veil on their future plans:

“A new chapter in American farming is on its way,” Heim wrote on his Linkedin profile.

The company is called Xcelerate Aqua.

“There is a need to reconsider how fish farming can grow effectively in the United States. Xcelerate Aqua’s mission is to create and invest in new companies that achieve smart and efficient aquaculture growth. Xcelerate Aqua is committed to innovations that drive environmental and social stewardship forward.”

Erik Heim and Marianne Naess will leverage their “deep industry experience and decades of senior management experience” to create companies that “reduce time-to-market, risk and investment thresholds for investors in aquaculture”.

They already have a concrete project on the block:

“The first company developed by Xcelerate Aqua is a new American RAS company carefully configured to move swiftly forward at lower risk and investment levels in the segment. Smaller, leaner, and faster is the motto here. Small enough to significantly reduce complexity and local impacts, but with key advantages that match larger scale benefits. This is what the RAS sector needs to deliver financial proof of concept on acceptable timelines and to open up more site development opportunities in the US in the coming years,” writes Xcelerate Aqua on Linkedin.

“Xcelerate Aqua is in the final stages of due diligence for a first site in eastern US and will shortly announce the new American RAS aquaculture company. The company leverages unique ESG advantages and takes down important barriers for investors. The new RAS company features a number of competitive advantages. Xcelerate Aqua is also spinning out a new aquaculture technology company. Announcements here will come at a later point.”