Universal Aquaculture

Posted on 08 Feb, 2022
By IPOS International

Established in 2020, Universal Aquaculture is a Singapore start-up founded by a team of aquaculture enthusiasts with a mission to build the global food systems of tomorrow. The start-up employs environmentally sound and sustainable food production methods to bring seafood such as vannamei shrimps to our table.

Key Outcomes

  • Identified key intellectual property (IP) and intangible assets (IA) that drive the business, along with potential risks that could impact its commercial plans 

  • Provided cost-effective IP/IA management frameworks and IP considerations for partnerships and collaborations with key stakeholders 

  • Developed an IA strategy aligned to the company’s business expansion plans 

The Innovation

Universal Aquaculture (UniAqua) specialises in the sustainable production of aquaculture species. Under its ZIRO brand, UniAqua breeds vannamei shrimps using high-density indoor vertical farming systems with low carbon footprint. Its proprietary Hybrid Biological Re-circulating System (HBRS) and cutting-edge Aquaculture Operating System or AquaOS provide a fully controlled environment for the staged growth and harvesting of aquaculture species in vertically stacked “pods”. By employing self-sustaining, cost-effective, and eco-friendly technologies, UniAqua produces quality ZIRO Shrimps (and other produce) that are healthy and chemical- and pesticide-free, at competitive prices. 

The Challenge

As part of its R&D and expansion plans, UniAqua was identifying potential partners to co-develop its systems and set up operations overseas. To do this successfully, the management realised that it needed a robust strategy aligned to its business to protect and manage its IP/IA in these joint ventures, especially those involving multiple local and overseas collaborators, or even third-party stakeholders. UniAqua sought IPOS International’s help in gaining a better understanding of its IP/IA portfolio and how it contributes to the company’s competitive edge, as well as to put in place effective measures to both safeguard and leverage its IP/IA for growth.  

The Solution

IP Strategists at IPOS International first worked with UniAqua to understand its business model in detail, including its underlying technologies and key competitive advantage in the market. An IA audit was then performed to clearly identify the core IP/IA of value to UniAqua’s business, along with uncovering the corresponding risks that could hamper its expansion plans. After studying UniAqua’s near- to mid-term business objectives, the team devised a comprehensive business-oriented IP/IA strategy to guard UniAqua’s assets against both internal and external risks. UniAqua was then equipped with a well-considered set of IP/IA tools and frameworks to help them better manage their innovation, counselled on practical IP considerations to navigate partnerships effectively, and fitted out with a branding and trade mark strategy tailored to its local and overseas business models.


Committed to bolstering Singapore’s food security, UniAqua promptly implemented the IP/IA recommendations provided, and took active steps to secure its assets via control mechanisms to effectively negotiate with third parties. The company is also currently working on strengthening its branding and trade mark strategy to support its business strategy, and to scale. Through the programme, UniAqua benefitted from recognising the importance of IP/IA in securing its competitive edge and driving growth, empowering them to pursue their dream of building the next generation food system with greater confidence.

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