The last time they raised money it was at a €120m valuation. Now the company will not disclose the valuation

Aslak Berge
The owners had to pick up the bill.

There was no shortage of ambition and optimism for the future when the small Norwegian company CageEye, with a turnover of NOK 3.4 million (€0.34 million), submitted a bid for the start-up company Sealab. The bid was NOK 230 million (€23 million).

That was money CageEye did not have. Therefore, Sealab was offered shares in CageEye – priced at an astronomical NOK 1.2 billion (€120 million).

The money
However, the Trondheim-based high-tech company Sealab was cash-strapped, and had long been chasing money. The rather complex transaction led to CageEye, which later changed its name to Bluegrove, acquiring Sealab and its subsidiary Sensonor for free. The founders, with the Markovic family in the driving seat, got nothing for their life’s work.

Bluegrove has now raised an amount that is exactly ten per cent of the previous valuation – NOK 120 million (€12 million) – in new equity. The money help to raise the company’s equity – from negative to positive.

What was the pre-money valuation for the issue? How many shares did the investors receive?

“Out of respect for our stakeholders and to maintain confidentiality, we will not elaborate on this,” said Marloes Eshuis, communications manager at Bluegrove, to SalmonBusiness.

The bill
Eshuis will not elaborate on whether the valuation was higher or lower than the pricing of NOK 1.2 billion (€120 million), which the company was valued at at the beginning of 2020.

Given that the valuation is unchanged over the past two years, the investors who participated in the last issue will receive shares corresponding to ten per cent of the company’s equity.

When the last refinancing was done, the bill was covered by existing shareholders, including the Dutch aquaculture fund Aqua-Spark and British Breed Reply Investment, in addition to the two young entrepreneurs Bendik Søvegjarto (31) and Joakim Myrland (34).

Bendik S. Søvegjarto

According to Bluegrove’s annual report, the largest owners in the company at the beginning of 2021 were the following: Bendik Søvegjarto and Joakim Myrland’s investment companies Espiro and Casmyr, both with 24.48 per cent each of the shares, Aqua-Spark (16.32 per cent) and Breed Reply Investment (9.95 per cent).

Will not share
There is reason to believe that the latter two players took most of the issue of NOK 120 million (€12 million).

Aqua-Sparks founder, Amy Novogratz, will not want to say how much money her fund has put into the Bluegrove issue – or how much ownership they now have.

“We never state specifications related to our investment amounts, valuation or shareholdings, so I can unfortunately not share this information with you,” she said politely but firmly to SalmonBusiness.

Aqua-Spark has been a shareholder in Bluegrove since 2018.

Since Bluegrove, formerly known as CageEye, was founded in 2013, the company has lost NOK 75.7 million (€7.6 million). Only two of the years, 2013 and 2017, have yielded (modest) profits.

The company is now hiring an advisor to help bring in new investors.


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