Private equity firm invests in European clam breeder

Ocean 14 Capital will invest in MITO that integrates bio-secure hatchery operations in the Netherlands with local nursery centers in the Italian market.

August 26, 2022

Ocean 14 Capital Fund, a private equity impact investment fund, will invest in MITO S.r.L, a leader in the breeding and hatching of clams. 

MITO, created through the O14C transaction, is the consolidation of clam hatchery and nurseries in Italy and the Netherlands. The company is co-founded by Gianluigi Lago, Paola Landri and Maurizio Varagnolo, industry veterans with deep expertise in breeding and farming Veneridae clams. MITO, resulting from the merger of Societá Agricola Ecotapes Italia S.r.L, Delta Futuro Societá Agricola S.r.L, and Ecotapes Zeeland B.V., initiates operations producing more than 300 million clam seed juveniles ready for stocking for the Italian market.  

MITO integrates bio-secure hatchery operations in the Netherlands with local nursery centers in the Italian market and, supported by Ocean 14 Capital Fund, has an ambitious growth plan to increase its operational capacity to 2 billion seeds annually over the next few years. The Ocean 14 Capital Fund plans to invest an additional €5 million investment to scale and grow the business further, as part of its European bivalves strategy, creating another scalable, regenerative and sustainable protein platform within the Blue Economy. 

Ocean 14 Capital Fund’s dedicated investment strategy for the European bivalve industry aims to bring capital, technology and best practices to this often-overlooked sector of the European coastal economies. “With a total aquaculture production of more than 30,000 tonnes, the clam industry in Europe is one of the best opportunities for the fund to invest in,” said Francisco Saraiva Gomes, founding partner and chief investment officer of the fund’s investment advisor. 

MITO is a high-impact investment case for Ocean 14 Capital. Alongside nutritional benefits, clams are an exceptionally efficient, low-impact protein. As filter feeders growing in the sediment of natural lagoons, clams require no feed, freshwater or antibiotics, and almost no physical infrastructure. As a result, clams produce less than 2 kg of CO2 per 100g of protein, versus the European average of 13k g per 100 g of animal protein, and 50 kg per 100 g of beef protein.  

In recent years, the European production of clams has declined due to a lack of wildly sourced seed, as well as abiotic stress and disease, resulting in a spat mortality rate of over 50%. MITO supplies high-quality clam juveniles that increase the production of low-impact and low-carbon protein by increasing the availability of clam seed, displacing farmers’ dependency on wildly sourced stocks, while simultaneously decreasing their mortality in grow-out and protecting the environment within the lagoon.