Indonesian sea-to-table platform Aruna catches $ 35 million led by Prosus and East Ventures Growth Fund – TechCrunch
When the founders of Aruna first met at university, they wanted to find a way to use their information technology studies to help family members who operated small fisheries. Indonesia is one of the largest fishery producers in the world, but the industry is highly fragmented. This means that fisheries, especially small ones, have to cope with fluctuations in demand and price instability. Aruna was created to bring them closer to customers like restaurants and exporters, much like farm-to-table startups bring together the agricultural supply chain.
Aruna today announced that it has raised $ 35 million in Series A funding led by Prosus Ventures and East Ventures Growth Fund, with participation from SIG and loyal investors including AC Ventures, MDI and Vertex Ventures. Aruna says this is the biggest Series A investment to date in Indonesia’s agriculture and maritime sector.
The company works primarily with small-scale fisheries (or those that have vessels with a capacity of around one to two metric tonnes) and focuses on sustainability, helping suppliers to adhere to the goals of Target 14 of the United Nations. These include preventing overfishing, protecting coastal ecosystems and giving artisanal 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 the three wanted to create something that would solve some of the challenges they faced.
“That was the main idea, but the most important thing we saw at the time was the advantage of Indonesia’s position as a major agricultural country with great potential in the fruit industry. sea, ”Aslam told TechCrunch.
According to the World Bank, Indonesia is the world’s second largest producer of fishing. The sector generates approximately $ 4.1 billion in annual export earnings and supports more than 7 million jobs.
But Aruna’s founding team saw two major problems when analyzing coastal communities. The first was market access and securing fair prices for seafood. The second was access to working capital.
To solve the first problem, Aruna was designed to shorten the supply chain, which Aslam says can have six or seven layers between fisheries and buyers like restaurants, markets or exporters.
Buyers place 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 forecast demand, ensure return of business and to prevent overfishing.
Aruna has also built a logistics network that includes more than 45 collection sites or warehouses where seafood is delivered by fisheries for quality checks, processing and packaging. Aruna’s warehouses are a combination of facilities that it owns or manages with partners. Deliveries are made by third-party logistics providers.
The platform currently has around 20 product categories and will use its funding to expand further. Its products include high-value products like lobster, which are shipped by exporters 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 sticking 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 gear so they comply with government regulations and choose locations that are not overfished.
By focusing on a few types of seafood each, the fisheries that work with Aruna are better able to ensure the quality and traceability of their products, and to manage price fluctuations.
The second issue Aruna is working on is the lack of access to working capital. To help fisheries secure low-interest, unsecured loans for equipment and other things they need for their operations, Aruna is partnering with financial institutions and fintech companies. When a fishery in Aruna applies for a loan, the platform is able to provide transaction data collected on the platform for credit scoring.
The company also announced today that it has appointed Budiman Goh as chairman and Octavianty as chief sustainability officer. Its funding will be used to expand to new regions in Indonesia, recruiting data analysis and technology development tools, 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.
“Currently we have 21,000 fishermen on the platform, but there are around 2.7 million fishermen in Indonesia, so there is a lot of room to develop,” Aslam said.
In a statement, Sachin Bhanot, Southeast Asia Investment Manager of Prosus Ventures, said: “Having built a strong supply chain and technology infrastructure, rich in in-depth knowledge and expertise of the industry, we believe Aruna is uniquely positioned to meet the growing global demand for sustainable fishing. product, while supporting the livelihoods of local fishermen.