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Indonesian IoT startup eFishery gets pre-Series A funding from Aqua­spark, Ideosource

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Source : DealStreetAsia

Indonesia based eFishery, a smart fish feeder manufacturer, has received an undisclosed funding in a pre­-series A round led by Aqua­spark, a Utrecht (the Netherlands) ­based aquaculture investment fund, and Indonesian venture capital firm Ideosource.

As an Internet of Things (IoT) startup for fish and shrimp farming, the Indonesian firm is tackling one of the largest challenges in commercial aquaculture: feeding operations.

The investment amount will be used to broaden eFishery’s distribution network on the domestic front – it will engage distributors, find local partners, and expand its market share aggressively in Indonesia. Meanwhile it will also ramp up its hiring efforts, the company said in a statement.

Traditionally, fish feed forms between 50 per cent to 80 per cent of the fish farming overhead costs. Overfeeding negatively impacts the environment in many ways, as a great deal of fish food ultimately goes to waste. It also harms the health of a farmer’s stock. Underfeeding means fish may not survive.

The result of unmeasured and inexact fish feeding methods on a commercial scale inevitably means economic losses for farmers.

eFishery tackles this through an affordable, tech­based solution – in the form of an automatic smart feeder that uses sensors to measure fish appetite and appropriate feed amounts.

Designed for both small and large­scale farmers, the system can sense appetites, automatically distribute feed, and give real­time reports of consumption on the farmer’s smartphone.“The problem that we are solving is the inefficiency of feeding in the fish farming business,” explains eFishery Co­Founder and CEO Gibran Chuzaefah Amsi El Farizy.

“I saw the problem when I was a fish farmer myself. Fish feeding is done inefficiently by laborers, and farmers don’t have any technology to control the feeding yet. We built this product to make the fish and shrimp farming business more efficient, convenient, and accountable,” El Farizy added.

The firm earns revenue from selling smart feeders to farmers and distributors. It also charges a monthly subscription fee for the software used to monitor and analyze the fish feeding activities in real­time via tablet or smartphone.

On average, eFishery’s smart feeding system reduces the amount of feed used by 21 per cent. So far, eFishery has sold hundreds of units in the past two years.

The startup currently has over 17,000 fish and shrimp farms in its pipeline, which include orders from Thailand, Singapore, India, China, Brazil, and countries in Africa. “We are very excited to solve the global challenge of fish feeding with eFishery,” says Amy Novogratz, partner, Aqua­spark.

“Indonesia has about 3.3 million fishponds and 2.7 million fish farms. When brought to scale, it could have a massive impact across a global industry plagued by this challenge. It has the potential to set a new standard for aquaculture and make the industry more transparent, data­driven, and accountable – all factors that will make businesses in this sector more investment­friendly.”

“eFishery is a perfect example of a company that is solving real problems in a lucrative market,” says Andrias Ekoyuono, VP of business development at Ideosource.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), more than 96 per cent of fish farming activities worldwide is concentrated in Asia. In Indonesia alone, the overall market size for aquaculture is $5.4 billion.

eFishery will join Aqua­spark’s large network of experts, organisations, institutions, and portfolio companies working together in the global aquaculture industry.

Combined with Ideosource’s expertise in Indonesia’s technology landscape, the two firms will be able to support eFishery’s long­ term vision.

Currently, eFishery’s products are only available in Java, Bali, and Sumatra. The firm will also implement a rental model in which farmers can rent eFishery’s products and pay for it monthly, or even make payment after harvesting times.

In this way, small­scale farmers may find it easier to adopt eFishery’s tech. eFishery will soon develop its software­side platform, create a better dashboard for customers, and add more features and fish compatibility for the device.

In order to do that, the company will hire the best talent both on the tech side (software and hardware) and aquaculture side.

Previously, eFishery won multiple awards including Get in The Ring 2014 and the Indonesia ICT Award 2013. With this announcement, eFishery has become one of the nation’s first IoT startups to receive VC investment.

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