FUND FOR SOCIAL INNOVATION CO-INVESTS WITH INDICO ON THE EXPANSION OF LOTA DIGITAL PLATFORM, THE E-MARKETPLACE BLOCKCHAIN FOR THE FIRST SALE OF FISH

On July 15, it was signed the FIS investment agreement in startup Bitcliq, participated by Indico Capital Partners and LC Ventures, which focuses on digital transformation of the primary sector and the blue economy through Lota Digital project.

The moment was marked by the visit of the Secretary of State for Planning, José Gomes Mendes, to the Peniche fish market, where the Lota Digital project began in 2019. There was also the presence of the Secretary of State for Fisheries, José Apolinário, the management of Docapesca, PME Investimentos, FIS management company, promoters, and various partners.

This reinforcement of investment by the FIS, in the amount of 350 thousand euros, has the main objective of preparing the expansion of operations at territorial level, in addition to the continued focus on the technological innovation, optimization of the logistics chain and digital transformation of the sector.

The Lota Digital project, which results from a strategic partnership with Docapesca, an entity in the state’s business sector, responsible for the first sale and valuation of fish, started as a pilot project in the Peniche fish market. Currently, it has more than 3 dozen participating vessels, representing most of the artisanal fishing gear and fish varieties from the continental coast. It serves several recurring customers, from segments as varied as restaurants, fishmongers, supermarkets and large wholesalers such as Makro, who support the project and believe in the potential of digital transformation for fairer trade and greater transparency in the value chain.

The platform, which integrates with Docapesca’s sales system, allows the automated registration of fish still at sea, anticipating its commercial transaction with more interesting sales mechanisms for fishermen and buyers, which include, in addition to convenience, a growing auction and minimum sales values. The platform also includes several logistical partners who resolve fundamental issues such as packaging and cold transport to their destination.

After visiting the Peniche fish market facilities, where several technological innovations of the platform were presented, which include the use of Artificial Intelligence to automate processes such as quality control and automatic fish recognition and Blockchain technology for decentralized registration of transactions and guaranteeing the immutability of fresh fish traceability data, the investment agreement was signed between Bitcliq and FIS. For Pedro Araújo Manuel, founder and Executive Director of Bitcliq, “This investment, supported by FIS, is a huge recognition of the excellent work of our team, of the persistence and vision that we have for a more sustainable future of artisanal fishing and consumers of natural origin fresh fish”.

According to Marco Fernandes, President of PME Investimentos, the entity that manages FIS, “The main objective of FIS is to contribute to social innovation, facilitating the creation of innovative models that promote impact on the lives of people and organizations. This Bitcliq project, Lota Digital, is fortunate to add all this: it is an innovative technological project, applied to a traditional community, such as fishermen, promoting their income and improving living conditions. On the other hand, it also allows the end customer to have access to the tracking of their fish from the catch to the dish, guaranteeing its authenticity. Therefore, it is with great satisfaction that PME Investimentos co-invests in Lota Digital, through FIS, and in partnership with Indico, which will greatly support the company’s growth with its experience”.

For Stephan Morais, Managing General Partner at Indico “this co-investment with the Fund for Social Innovation is in line with our commitment to socially responsible investment, within the scope of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investing. We are very pleased to start working Bitcliq with FIS, a fund that can really have a great impact on innovation at the social level”.

The morning ended with the tasting of fresh fish from Lota Digital, made by Chef António Alexandre, having been able to experience the excellent taste of fresh fish from our coast, know its true history and even the fisherman who caught it, using the Lota Digital application for traceability.