The Dundee tech duo who played a large part in the global success of Minecraft have invested in a city business that supplies innovative marine equipment.
Ace Aquatec, based at City Quay, has won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise twice for its inventions that include acoustic deterrent devices and electric stunners that are used by fish farm operators across the globe.
Chris van der Kuyl and Paddy Burns, owners of 4J Studios, have acquired a 10% stake in Ace Aquatec, giving the aquaculture technology firm a post-investment valuation of £15.4 million.
Mr van der Kuyl will also join the Ace Aquatec board as the company hopes for strong growth.
The company’s management team, led by chief executive Nathan Pyne-Carter, plans to grow its team and regional support network over the coming months as ethical farming and food insecurity move up the global agenda in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.
Mr Pyne-Carter said: “Aquaculture is set to grow even quicker post-Covid and is seen by many commentators as one of the key drivers to address the onset of a global food crisis.
“As the industry grows, we are helping our customers support their own growth with the most sustainable and ethical products in the market.
“Chris and Paddy’s experience growing digital businesses will be a significant asset to our team as we strive to blend the best of physical and digital technologies to help our customers produce environmentally sustainable seafood.”
The latest investment follows a funding round last year led by Dutch investment fund Aqua-Spark.
Mr van der Kuyl said: “Paddy and I are delighted to invest in such a fantastic technology, manufacturing and innovation driven company.
“Ace Aquatec has shown phenomenal global growth and ambition and I hope we can help bring our technology expertise to this world-class organisation.
“Investing alongside management and an aquaculture specialist investor in Aqua-Spark gives us cause for great optimism and excitement for future developments.”