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eFishery, a smart fish feeder manufacturer based in Indonesia, has announced a pre-series A funding round from Aqua-spark, a Utrecht-based aquaculture investment fund and Indonesian VC Ideosource. The funding amount remains undisclosed.

eFishery will use the capital to engage distributors, find local partners and expand its market share aggressively in Indonesia. The firm will also implement a rental model in which farmers can rent the products and pay monthly or even make payments after harvesting time, making it easier for small-scale farmers to adopt the startup’s tech.

eFishery will also develop its software platform, create a better dashboard for customers and add more features and fish compatibility for the device. In order to achieve that, the company plans to hire the best talent in the tech and aquatic sectors.

With this announcement, eFishery became one of the nation’s first Internet of Things (IoT) startups to receive VC investment.

Gibran Chuzaefah Amsi El Farizy, Co-Founder and CEO of eFishery, explained how the company aims to solve one of the largest challenges in commercial aquaculture, which is feeding operations.

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“I saw the problem when I was a fish farmer myself. Fish feeding is done inefficiently by labourers 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 said.

Fish feeding traditionally is responsible for 50-80 per cent of fish farming overhead costs. Overfeeding negatively impacts the environment in many ways, whilst underfeeding means the fish may not survive. The result of unmeasured and inexact fish feeding methods inevitably leads to economic losses for the farmers.

As an IoT startup for fish and shrimp farming, eFishery offers a 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 large-scale farmers, the system can sense appetites, automatically distribute feed and give real-time reports of consumption on the farmer’s smartphone.

In the past two years, eFishery has sold hundreds of units to farmers and distributors. It charges a monthly subscription fee for the software used to monitor and analyse the fish feeding activities in real-time via tablet or smartphone. On average, eFishery’s smart feeding system reduces the amount of feed used by 21 per cent.

Currently, its products are only available in Java, Bali and Sumatra.

“eFishery is a perfect example of a company that is solving real problems in a lucrative market,” said Andrias Ekoyuono, VP of Business Development at Ideosource.

Across the pond

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 US$5.4 billion.

“Indonesia has about 3.3 million fishponds and 2.7 million fish farms,” said Amy Novogratz, Partner at Aqua-spark.

“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, data-driven and accountable – all factors that will make businesses in this sector more investment-friendly,” she added.