Florida’s beautiful wetlands and waterways are under threat.
From the moody St. John’s River to the vast Everglades, invasive aquatic plants, suburban and agricultural runoff, and point-source pollution all challenge a delicate natural balance that has developed over thousands of years. The specter of climate change looms over it all, lending urgency to the search for sustainable solutions.
Aguaculture: Real, Natural Change
Aguaculture Technologies is leading that charge. It’s on the cusp of bringing a game-changing invasive weed management technology to market at scale — with potentially transformative implications for Florida’s waterways, farmers, and broader economy.
Aguaculture’s team has pioneered the biggest change to invasive vegetation harvesting and waterborne phosphorus reduction in nearly a century. Rather than spraying with harmful pesticides, Aguaculture processes phosphorus-rich vegetation into natural fertilizer and applies it to surrounding hay farms.
Nature does the rest. The hay grows until harvest, when it’s distributed as organic feed to livestock farms. Cows and hogs eat the hay and create natural fertilizer, further distributing the phosphorus through the agricultural economy.
From Dream to Reality
Aguaculture’s sustainable solution caught the attention of politicians and policymakers in Florida, where clean water has strong bipartisan support. The company earned a pivotal grant from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to help bring its solution to market.
But that grant only went so far. Scaling a transformative technology is challenging for a small business, even one with as much in-house knowledge and experience as Aguaculture.
Needing a great deal more funding for its next phase of growth, Aguaculture faced a choice familiar to many startups: Keep piecing together small-dollar financing and miss out on exponential growth opportunities, or agree to an unfavorable debt-and-equity deal that could hand control to faraway venture capitalists.
That’s where LEONID came in.
“As a new venture awarded its first government grant, we were of course ecstatic, but also apprehensive. LEONID was our ‘Superman’ when it counted the most,” says Aguaculture CEO Nicholas Szabo.
“Although our technology was proven on a smaller scale, we lacked immediate funding to gear up for a larger project without giving away the farm. Leonid made it possible for us to exponentially expand our operations while retaining a controlling interest,” he adds.
Doing Our Part to Make the World a Better Place
At LEONID, we’re in the business of helping entrepreneurs realize their dreams of making the world a better place. Which is why we were so honored to partner with Aguaculture, whose technology has the potential to restore balance to the natural world, make agriculture work better for everyone, and strengthen the economy.
In fact, we specialize in working with small and medium-sized businesses just like Aguaculture. We provide non-dilutive government contract financing for companies awarded local, state, and federal government contracts and SBIR funding — always with no personal guarantees and no long-term contracts. And we believe in giving back to those who serve, which is why we donate 50% of our profits to organizations that support military families and veterans.
We’re proud of what we were able to accomplish with Aguaculture and can’t wait to see what they do next. For our part, we’re ready to work with the next transformative startup, small and midsize business.