QUB spin-out to revolutionise marine conservation tech with £316k funding

  • FjordStrong, a marine biodiversity technology company, which formed as a spinout from Queen’s University Belfast has successfully closed a £316,000 seed funding round.

    The business will use the funding to develop innovative underwater surveying technology that helps conserve vulnerable marine species.

    FjordStrong has developed a patented underwater survey system called Auto-release Baited Underwater Video (ABUV).

    This technology is non-destructive and non-invasive, designed for surveying high conservation value marine species (e.g. angel sharks) and marine protected areas. 

    The company said its ethos is to compliment the renewable energy sector’s green credentials by providing zero-impact biodiversity surveys.

    FjordStrong was founded in 2019 after taking part in the Innovate UK ICURe (Innovation to Commercialisation of University Research) Programme, which accelerates the commercialisation of promising research ideas from universities across the UK.

    Its work addresses several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.

    These goals include supporting life under water by protecting biodiversity and delivering affordable and clean energy by expediting offshore development processes and providing appropriate monitoring techniques.

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    Currently, FjordStrong is engaged with international NGOs and UK government agencies in projects supporting the conservation of critically endangered skates and rays.

    Likewise, in collaboration with Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI), the company are working with BlueWise (previously SmartBay) in Galway to explore how marine renewable energy infrastructure can play a role in protecting our most vulnerable wildlife.

    Ruairí Gallagher, one of FjordStrong's founders said: “Thanks to this funding, we are developing state-of-the art video analysis and automation software which provides user-friendly, demonstrative and communicative footage.

    "This has the capacity to transform the stakeholder engagement and decision processes among agencies focused on supporting marine biodiversity. With this system, we will provide client demonstrations where we see an interest in both the commercial and conservation sector.”

    FjordStrong's latest funding round was led by Qubis Ltd, the commercialisation arm of Queen’s and a number of private investors, on the back of securing ‘Aid for Start up’ support from InnovateUK.

    Oisin Lappin, Corporate Finance Manager at Qubis said: “We are delighted to support the team at FjordStrong in their mission, borne from years of research in Queen’s University. The team are committed in their pursuit of protecting marine ecosystems and doing their part towards achieving the SDG goals in a sustainable way.”

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    Source: Written from press release

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