Indonesia-based fisheries e-commerce firm Aruna is in talks with the country’s leading venture capital firms East Ventures, SMDV and Agaeti Venture Capital to raise capital, sources privy to the development told DealStreetAsia.
The deal size is likely to be less than $5 million.
If talks fructify, the proposed transaction is expected to be closed over the next few months.
DealStreetAsia has also learnt that the company is eyeing a bigger investment round soon wherein it plans to seek a double-digit valuation.
Earlier this month, Aruna made headlines when Japanese giant SoftBank Group Corp evinced interest in picking up a stake in the company.
The development was confirmed by Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs, Luhut Pandjaitan, in an address to the local media.
SoftBank Group chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son is understood to have met the founder of Aruna during his recent visit to Indonesia.
Aruna focuses on fish trading, with the aim to improve the livelihood of local fishermen, and bring affordable seafood to people. Since its inception in 2016, it has partnered with over 2,000 fishermen across different provinces of Indonesia, who then sell seafood directly to customers using its mobile apps. It also helps fishermen assess the production potential of fisheries to strategically and sustainably earn their livelihoods.
The startup raised a seed round in 2017 from hardware and machinery distributor UMG Indonesia.
When contacted, Aruna CEO Farid Aslam told DealStreet Asia the company’s current focus is to make seafood supply chain more efficient. He, however, declined to comment on the fundraising plans.
“We are an e-commerce platform for fisheries products and want to create a fair fish trading for everyone. Our current focus is on B2B and we target to acquire small-scale fisherman as our partners,” he said in an emailed response.
Going forward, the company is planning to expand its operations in Southeast Asia and China, said Aslam. The startup claims to have achieved 8x growth in terms of revenue in the year 2017-2018.
East Ventures is an early-stage venture fund focused on Southeast Asia and Japan. Over the years, it has invested in a slew of companies across countries such as Indonesia, Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Thailand. Its portfolio companies include e-commerce unicorns Tokopedia and Traveloka, among others. It was recently in news for investing in Kedai Sayur, an Indonesian startup that empowers vegetable hawkers by utilizing technology.
Earlier this month, the VC firm announced the close of its sixth fund at $75 million that surpassed its initial $30-million target.
Both SMDV and Agaeti Venture Capital are Indonesia-focused venture capital firms that invest in companies across sectors. Their common portfolio companies include specialty coffee startup Fore Coffee and micro-retail technology company Warung Pintar.