Last year, Amy Novogratz gathered a seaweed farmer, an oyster-hatchery owner, the creator of a chip made from dehydrated salmon skins, a grocery buyer, a restaurateur and a reporter for a dinner party in her Manhattan loft. As her guests savored arctic char poached in saffron with heirloom tomatoes and a pistachio pesto, she rose to explain the fish’s provenance: Matorka, a farm in Grindavík, Iceland, that raises its antibiotic-free fish on land in tanks using geothermal energy.
Back in 2016, when Novogratz’s Aqua-Spark fund invested $2.5 million in it, Matorka was producing just 50 tons of fish a year. By the time of that dinner party, it was selling 3,000 tons, including to celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa and U.S. grocery delivery service FreshDirect. When Covid-19 hit and Matorka’s restaurant sales dried up, Aqua-Spark helped out with a $750,000 bridge loan. “The brand is back to a good place now,’’ reports Novogratz, who sees it growing to 6,000 tons by 2022—a “really good sweet spot where you can keep production controlled, know your market, know your customer, really trace everything.”
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