Aquamonitrix wins BIM Aquatech Business of the Year Award

20 Oct 2023

From left: Caroline Bocquel, Mark Bowkett and Wayne Murphy. Image BIM

Carlow-based Aquamonitrix employs more than 50 people and has customers across the globe, from Norway and the Netherlands to Canada.

Aquamonitrix, an Irish company that has developed a novel way to measure nitrate content in water for the fishing industry, has emerged as BIM Aquatech Business of the Year.

Based in Co Carlow, Aquamonitrix was one of three Irish aquatech companies in the running for the inaugural Business of the Year award hosted by BIM (Bord Iascaigh Mhara), Ireland’s seafood development agency. The other two were Aqualicence and Konree Innovation.

Aquamonitrix is delivering a dataset to the water industry on nitrates and nitrites that are toxic to fish, but which were previously impossible to measure in real time. The company is a spin-out of oil and environmental analysis company TE Laboratories, which was founded in 1991.

The company then developed a solution for monitoring water quality two years ago. Since then, its analyser has been bought by fish farms around the world. Today, Aquamonitrix employs more than 50 people and has customers across the globe, from Norway and the Netherlands to Canada.

“This means a lot [to] us, especially as we are new to the aquaculture sector,” said Aquamonitrix director Mark Bowkett upon winning the award at a conference yesterday (19 October).

“Our participation in the BIM Innovation Studio Programme was a gamechanger and helped us to develop this opportunity. It has been a steep learning curve. But the Innovation Studio helped us to determine that we had a value proposition for the aquaculture industry.”

According to BIM, Irish aquatech companies turned over €212m last year, prompting some to proclaim that Ireland has the potential to become the ‘Silicon Valley of aquatech’.

To help promote this burgeoning industry to more entrepreneurs and investors, BIM hosted the two-week Innovation Studio programme in Killorglin, Co Kerry, where eight companies were whittled down to three finalists, and eventually, one winner.

“We have a small aquaculture industry compared to the likes of Norway or Scotland,” Richard Donnelly, development and innovation director at BIM, told in a recent interview.

“But where we have a real advantage is in our young, educated population and our tech industry, especially around pharma, genetics, financial services and IT.

“What we are looking for, is to cross-fertilise those industries into the aquaculture industry. We need start-up companies coming to service that industry from those other disciplines.”

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic