December 2, 2023

Indonesian aquaculture startups are reportedly raising fresh funding electronic fishing Announced today that it has netted $200 million in Series D funding. The company, which makes smart feeding systems for fisheries, said this makes it the first startup in the global aquaculture industry to be valued at more than $1 billion. Its goal is to build 1 million aquaculture ponds in Indonesia by 2025 and expand overseas.

The financing was led by Abu Dhabi-based 42XFund, with participation from Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (Diperbadankan), Malaysia’s largest public sector pension fund, Swiss asset manager responsesAbility and 500 Global. Existing investors Northstar, Temasek and SoftBank also participated in the round, with Goldman Sachs serving as exclusive financial advisor to eFishery. TechCrunch last reported on the startup in January 2022, when it announced a $90 million Series C funding round.

EFisery cites study Data from the Demographic Institute of the University of Indonesia (LDUI) shows that e-fishing will contribute 1.55% to the Indonesian aquaculture industry’s GDP in 2022. This is significant because Indonesia has the second largest fisheries and aquaculture industry in the world, after China.according to world atlasThe country produces 5.8 million tons of fish annually.

Founded by CEO Gibran Huzaifah (above) in Bandung, West Java, in 2013, the fishery company now serves 70,000 fish and shrimp farmers in 280 cities across Indonesia. In addition to an IoT automated feeding system, eFishery’s platform also includes a marketplace for selling fish and shrimp feed to farmers, fresh fish and shrimp products to B2B consumers, and financial products to fish farmers.

Huzaifah started a catfish farming business while in college. During that time, he told TechCrunch, he learned that feed management is critical because 80% of the total production cost is allocated to feed. But many farmers still practice hand-feeding, resulting in uneven fish sizes because not all fish get the same amount of food.

This is a problem because buyers have specific sizes of fish that they want to buy. However, underfeeding is not the only problem, overfeeding can lead to nutrient loss and pollute water sources.

Huzaifah sees how technology is disrupting industries such as business, financial services and media, but “the way fish are kept hasn’t changed in the last 30 years. Shopping and food delivery, but digital innovation in important sectors such as agriculture and aquaculture is next to zero.”

However, after developing eFishery’s smart feeding system, Huzaifah encountered resistance from fish farmers. After months of convincing, “they finally want to try it, not because they believe in the technology, but because they pity me.” One reason is that many farmers are not ordinary Internet users. “I remember we had Internet 101 between us and the farmers,” Huzafa said. “We showed them how to create an email, use Facebook, get information from YouTube, and more.”

Although aquaculture in Indonesia is already very large, Huzaifah says it is only reaching 7 to 9 percent of its total potential. Some of the challenges it faces include fragmentation. Huzaifah explained that Indonesia has 34 provinces and their business practices vary, so localization must be done for each province.

“I learned the hard way that we have to respect local players, including using local dialects and building relationships with middlemen,” he said. “In one case, some middlemen poisoned our pond. After discussing with them, we learned that they just want to do business, and they are also entrepreneurs. So we figured out how to turn them into our local partners, Because they have local intelligence, connections, assets, and so on.”

On farms, feeding costs account for 70 to 90 percent of total production costs, much of which is still done by hand, as it was when Huzaifah ran his catfish farm. The eFisheryFeeder automatically distributes feed to fish and shrimp and helps farmers control feed by sensing the fish’s appetite with vibrations that increase as the fish get hungry. The system allows farmers to manage their ponds from their smartphones and collect data on daily fish usage, feed type and brand, fish production, fish behavior and appetite, population density and mortality.

Because aquaculture is so important to the Indonesian economy, other tech startups are addressing different aspects of the industry. In addition to eFishery, recent startups that have raised funding include Aruna, Delos and FishLog.

Hazafa said that in order to improve Indonesia’s aquaculture industry and increase fish exports, the community, government and institutions must work together to improve the infrastructure of fisheries operations so that they can handle more fish and improve product quality.

The country should encourage sustainable aquaculture practices such as training, promoting advanced technologies and ensuring access to high-quality fry to increase fish production and engage in trade negotiations to attract more buyers. Efishery plans to expand overseas by exporting fully traceable, antibiotic-free shrimp.

In a statement regarding the financing, Iman Adiwibowo, Head of 42XFund, said: “The technology and comprehensive aquaculture solutions provided by eFishery have had a significant impact on the aquatech industry and benefited small farmers in Indonesia. We believe that eFishery will continue to promote a sustainable and inclusive economy and contribute to environmental protection goals in Indonesia and beyond.”