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Indonesian aquaculture startup eFishery raises $200M at unicorn valuation

Indonesia

Indonesian aquaculture startup eFishery has recently announced that it has secured $200 million in a Series D funding round, making it the first startup in the global aquaculture industry to achieve a valuation of over $1 billion. The funding was led by Abu Dhabi-based 42XFund and included participation from Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (Diperbadankan), Malaysia’s largest public sector pension fund, Swiss asset manager responsibility, and 500 Global. Existing investors such as Northstar, Temasek, and SoftBank also participated in the round, with Goldman Sachs acting as an exclusive financial advisor to eFishery.

eFishery, founded in 2013 by CEO Gibran Huzaifah, is based in Bandung, West Java. The company specializes in developing a smart feeding system for fisheries, which aims to optimize feeding practices and improve overall efficiency. The system utilizes Internet of Things (IoT) technology to automatically distribute feed to fish and shrimp, while also allowing farmers to monitor and manage their ponds remotely through a smartphone application. This innovative solution addresses the challenges faced by fish farmers, such as uneven fish sizes due to manual feeding and nutrient runoff caused by overfeeding.

The significance of eFishery’s contribution to Indonesia’s aquaculture sector is highlighted by a study conducted by the Demographic Institute of the University of Indonesia (LDUI). According to the study, eFishery contributed 1.55% to Indonesia’s gross domestic product (GDP) in the aquaculture sector in 2022. This is particularly noteworthy considering that Indonesia has the second largest fishing and aquaculture industry globally, ranking only behind China. The country produces approximately 5.8 million tons of fish annually, according to the World Atlas.

Currently, eFishery serves 70,000 fish and shrimp farmers in 280 cities across Indonesia. In addition to its smart feeding system, the company’s platform includes marketplaces for selling fish and shrimp feed to farmers, fresh fish and shrimp products to B2B consumers, and financial products tailored for fish farmers. The goal of eFishery is to expand its reach to one million aquaculture ponds in Indonesia by 2025 and eventually expand overseas.

Gibran Huzaifah’s journey in the aquaculture industry began when he started a catfish farming business while still in college. He quickly realized the importance of feed management, as it accounted for 80% of the total production cost. However, many farmers still relied on manual feeding, resulting in inconsistent fish sizes. Huzaifah recognized the need for digital innovation in the agriculture and aquaculture sectors, which had seen minimal technological advancements compared to other industries.

Despite initial resistance from fish farmers, Huzaifah successfully introduced eFishery’s smart feeding system by educating them about the benefits of technology. He emphasized the need to respect local players and adapt to different business practices across Indonesia’s 34 provinces.

Building relationships with middlemen and involving them as local partners proved to be a successful strategy for eFishery. By leveraging their local wisdom, connections, and assets, the company was able to overcome challenges and establish a strong presence in the aquaculture industry.

The aquaculture industry in Indonesia still has significant untapped potential, as it has only reached 7% to 9% of its total capacity. One of the key challenges is fragmentation due to the diverse business practices across different provinces. To unlock this potential, Huzaifah believes that collaboration between communities, the government, and institutions is crucial. Improving fishery operation infrastructure, promoting sustainable aquaculture practices, and engaging in trade negotiations to attract more buyers are essential steps to enhance Indonesia’s aquaculture industry and increase fish exports.

eFishery’s latest funding round will enable the company to further expand its operations and accelerate its mission of promoting a sustainable and inclusive economy. The company plans to export fully traceable, antibiotic-free shrimp as part of its overseas expansion strategy. With its innovative solutions and comprehensive aquaculture offerings, eFishery has made a significant impact on the aquatech industry and has benefited small farmers in Indonesia. The funding received from 42XFund and other investors will undoubtedly contribute to the company’s continued growth and success, both in Indonesia and beyond.

eFishery, the pioneering aquaculture startup, has secured a remarkable $200 million in Series D funding, propelling its valuation to an unprecedented $1 billion.

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