Indonesian aquaculture startup Anura makes big catch with $35mn funding

Fishing boats moored in the port harbour, Jakarta. Image by Au_hoo | Bigstockphoto

Significant tech funding in Southeast Asia has gone to AI, mobile, finance, automobile manufacturing, and IT, but less has been invested in agriculture, especially in aquaculture.

In a recent development, Proses and East Ventures alongside a set of investors handed over the largest Series A funding for agritech and maritime to Anura, an integrated fisheries commerce startup.

Anura aims to promote economic growth from maritime resources, livelihood opportunities, and sustainability of marine ecosystems, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic affected many small-scale fishers in Indonesia, where 2.7 million fishermen form a quarter of the country’s poor.

Anura targets small-scale fishers and introduces them to the global market while expanding their domestic reach through Anura’s digital platform and marketplace.

Digital fish platform and marketplace

As the largest archipelago in the world, Indonesia is a rich source of high-quality fish and aqua products worldwide. 37% of global fish resources is estimated to come from Indonesia, suggesting that there is a huge market for fishing in Indonesia. However, small fishermen have continued to struggle in converting their catch into actual sales for them.

Anura’s transparent e-commerce platform allows these fishermen to sell their products at a good price. The marketplace is also designed to ensure fair trade for both ends.

Transaction costs are reduced and selling price is increased by as much as 20%, all of which goes directly to the fishermen. In addition, buyers may pay 15% less for their purchases, creating a win-win situation for both fishermen and buyers. The latter can also buy in retail amounts or in bulk, making transactions far easier and faster than those in local markets.

Local site partnership and community development

Anura’s platform is not only a trading place, it is also a gateway to the development of the fishing community. While economic growth is vital, Anura also aims to educate and empower small-scale fishermen by improving their work effectiveness and efficiency and helping them build connections that are more than transactional.

Wijiyanto, Directorate of Digital Economy, Ministry of Communication and Information, said that Aruna is capable of taking the fishing community to the next level. The platform ultimately empowers fishermen by providing training and guidance, thus making them better at their work and giving them better access to opportunities.

At present, Anura has already assisted more than 20,000 fishermen across 30+ sites in the archipelago, and distributed fish catch in North America, Europe, and the Middle East. At this pace and a large financial pool from the recent funding, Anura is expected to open more opportunities and transform the aquaculture industry.

Technological development in aquaculture is less advanced compared to industries. However, when technology is seamlessly and strategically incorporated in aquaculture and fishery, it creates ripples of opportunities for locals and investors alike. Anura’s initiative is a huge step in the integration of technology in aquaculture and agriculture in general. With more similar projects, poverty in agriculture-based communities can be alleviated and better food and nutrition security can be achieved.

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