The Indonesian dream – self-made man builds Efishery, now valued at $1.4 billion

Photo eFishery 2 1
Image Credits: eFishery

EFishery, a start-up in the agritech industry, achieved a remarkable feat for an Indonesian company by becoming a unicorn after securing $200 million in fresh funding. Co-founded by a former resident of a disadvantaged neighbourhood in Jakarta, the start-up’s valuation soared to $1.4 billion following a Series D funding round, a significant increase from its previous value of $410 million in 2022. The funding was led by Abu Dhabi’s 42XFund, with participation from Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (Malaysia’s state pension fund), ResponsAbility Investments AG, and 500 Global, alongside existing investors such as Northstar Group, Temasek Holdings Pte, and SoftBank Group Corp, according to Bloomberg.

EFishery provides its services to around 70,000 fish and shrimp farmers across Indonesia. The company achieved its billion-dollar status during a year marked by layoffs, CEO resignations, and declining valuations in the tech industry. Global venture investors have been cautious due to slowing economies, rising interest rates, and increased inflation levels.

The company intends to use the funds to expand its operations in Indonesia and India before considering an initial public offering (IPO) in the United States or Indonesia within the next two years. In an interview, CEO Gibran Huzaifah expressed the ambition of becoming a global leader within the next five years and exploring the possibility of an IPO as early as 2025.

Huzaifah, who grew up near the slums of eastern Jakarta, faced financial hardships when his father lost his job as he entered university. He endured sleeping in various places, including the campus and mosques, and even experienced periods of three days without food. However, his encounter with a class on aquaculture sparked his interest in the field, leading him to rent a pond and venture into catfish farming. Over time, he encountered challenges in the industry, such as low profit margins and pricing issues due to middlemen.

With the help of a technologically inclined friend, Huzaifah developed an Internet-of-Things-based automatic feeder to address feeding-related problems. In 2013, he launched eFishery, focusing on understanding the industry and adopting a unique approach rather than following the crowd. The company has since expanded its business to include a marketplace for fish and shrimp farmers and buyers, as well as collaborations with financial institutions to provide farmer financing.

Following the recent funding round, Huzaifah and his co-founder now possess stakes worth over $100 million each. Despite his success, Huzaifah humbly acknowledges that his life hasn’t changed drastically. However, he finds solace in knowing that he no longer has to worry about the financial troubles he faced during his upbringing.

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