When ArunaThe founders first met in college, they wanted to find a way to use their information technology studies to help family members who had small fisheries. Indonesia is one of the world’s largest fish producers, but the industry is highly fragmented. This means that fisheries, especially small ones, face fluctuations in demand and price instability. Aruna was born to bring them closer to clients such as restaurants and exporters, the way farm-to-table startups they are adding the agricultural supply chain.
Aruna announced today that it has raised $ 35 million in Series A funds led by Prosus Ventures and East Ventures Growth Fund, with participation from SIG and returning investors, including AC Ventures, MDI and Vertex Ventures. Aruna says this is the largest Series A investment to date in Indonesia’s agriculture and maritime sector.
The company works primarily with small fisheries (or those that have boats with approximately one to two metric tons of capacity) and focuses on sustainability, helping suppliers adhere to the Goals of Goal 14 of the United Nations. These include preventing overfishing, protecting coastal ecosystems, and giving small-scale fisheries access to more resources and markets.
Aruna was founded in 2016 by Farid Naufal Aslam, Indraka Fadhlillah, and Utari Octavianty, who met while studying IT administration and management at Telkom University. Fadhlillah and Octavianty came from families in the fishing industry, and all three wanted to create something that would solve some of the challenges they faced.
“This was the main idea, but the most important thing we saw at the time was the advantage of Indonesia’s position as a great agricultural country with great potential in the fishing industry,” Aslam told TechCrunch.
According to the world bank, Indonesia is the second largest fish producer in the world. The sector generates around $ 4.1 billion in annual export earnings and maintains more than 7 million jobs.
But Aruna’s founding team saw two major problems when analyzing coastal communities. The first was access to the market and obtaining fair prices for seafood. The second was access to working capital.
To solve the first problem, Aruna was built to shorten the supply chain, which, according to Aslam, can have six or seven layers between fisheries and buyers such as restaurants, markets or exporters.
Buyers place purchase orders through the platform, which are then distributed to the fishing communities that Aruna organizes to focus on particular types of seafood. This helps them predict demand, ensure business returns, and prevent overfishing.
Aruna also built a logistics network that includes more than 45 collection sites or warehouses where seafood is delivered by fisheries for quality controls, processing and packaging. Aruna’s warehouses are a combination of facilities that it owns or manages with partners. Deliveries are made by external logistics providers.
The platform currently has around 20 product categories and will use its funding to expand to more. Its raw materials include high-value products such as lobster, which exporters ship to markets such as Malaysia, Singapore, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Canada and the United States.
One of Aruna’s main requirements for rig fishing is to adhere to its sustainability process. According to the World Bank, one of the biggest problems facing Indonesian fisheries is overfishing, which damages marine biodiversity. Aruna’s team members work with fisheries to standardize their equipment to comply with government regulations and choose locations that are not overfished.
By focusing on a few types of seafood each, the fisheries that Aruna works with are better able to ensure the quality and traceability of their products and manage price fluctuations.
The second problem Aruna is working on is the lack of access to working capital. To help fisheries obtain low-interest, unsecured loans for equipment and other things they need for their businesses, Aruna partners with financial institutions and financial technology companies. When an Aruna fishery applies for a loan, the platform can provide transaction data collected on the platform for credit scoring.
The company also announced today that it has appointed Budiman Goh as its president and Octavianty as its chief sustainability officer. Its funding will be used to expand into new areas in Indonesia, hiring data analytics and technology development, including IoT devices to help perform quality checks.
Aruna plans to focus on Indonesia in the near future due to the large number of fisheries in the country.
“We currently have 21,000 fishermen on the shelf, but there are about 2.7 million fishermen in Indonesia, so there is a lot of room to grow,” Aslam said.
In a statement, Sachin Bhanot, Chief Investment Officer for Prosus Ventures in Southeast Asia, said: “Having built a strong supply chain and technology infrastructure with deep industry knowledge and experience, we believe Aruna is uniquely positioned to meet the growing global demand for sustainable fishing. product, while supporting the livelihoods of local fishermen. “