Flush with funds, eFishery unveils plans to ramp up US exports, expand to India

Flush with funds, eFishery unveils plans to ramp up US exports, expand to India

eFishery Co-founder and CPO Chrisna Aditya (left) and Co-Founder and CEO Gibran Huzaifah (DealStreetAsia/Tabita Diela)

Indonesian aquaculture technology firm eFishery plans to export more fish products to the US, roll out a direct-to-consumer brand, and start regional expansion next year following its recent $200 million Series D fundraising, an executive said on Wednesday.

The aquaculture company plans to export Tilapia, a popular freshwater fish known as Nila in Indonesia, to the US later this year. Tilapia is popular as it is rich in protein and low in fat. Currently, eFishery exports shrimp to the US.

“We have been exporting shrimp to the US and will ship it to China. That is our focus. We will begin with shrimp and then in the fourth quarter, we will send Tilapia to the US. We are trying to build the market starting from the US and China before entering Southeast Asian markets such as Singapore and Malaysia; Europe and the Middle East,” said Gibran Huzaifah, CEO and co-founder.

Huzaifah made the comments on the sidelines of eFishery’s tenth-anniversary celebrations in Bandung, West Java.

He also noted that the company will start its commercial operations in India next year after piloting for a year. “We have explored [more locations] besides India. We ran pilot projects in Vietnam and Thailand. We are exploring several potential partners in the Philippines and Malaysia,” said Huzaifah.

He, however, noted that eFishery will not rush with expansion and plans to grow “one country at a time” to ensure its quality and sustainability.

Huzaifah said India was chosen due to its similarities to Indonesia, including an open market that includes many small-scale farmers. In India, fish farmers are centred in a particular province, which makes them competitive in terms of cost production.

The company has also set up plans back home to integrate its upstream with its downstream efforts, said Chrisna Aditya, eFishery’s chief product officer and co-founder.

eFishery, on Wednesday, also introduced a blockchain-based digital cooperative in which its 200,000 fish farmer partners acquire fish feed and sell their products with ease using the app, allowing them to focus better on their cultivation.

Aditya said eFishery’s strategy on the downstream side has been heavy on the business-to-business model by working with supermarkets, hotels, restaurants, and cafes.

“Going forward, we wish to have more presence in the downstream market, to allow end-customer to order shrimps from the farmers. The process is done step-by-step while we build our operational capability, logistics, warehouse, and cold chain which we will be specifically using for frozen products,” said Aditya.

The company plans to launch its direct-to-consumer products in the first half of 2024 in Indonesia and overseas.

eFishery recently announced a sizeable $200 million Series D funding round led by Abu Dhabi-based global fund manager 42XFund. eFishery confirmed that the company is currently valued at $1.3 billion—the first aquaculture firm in the world to reach unicorn valuation.

The company declined to estimate its future fundraising efforts, claiming that it generates enough revenue to use the funding for growth purposes instead of burning it.

eFishery is working with more than 200,000 fish farmers across 280 cities and regencies in Indonesia who operate more than 1.1 million active ponds.

Edited by: Pramod Mathew

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