South Asian Aqua farmers network Aquaconnect proclaimed today that it has raised $4 Mn (INR 29.7 Cr) in a pre-series A round directed by Rebright Partners and Flourish Ventures. AgFunder and 6G Capital also participated in the round, along with existing investors Omnivore and HATCH.
Founded in 2017 by Rajamanohar Somasundaram, Aquaconnect’s digital platform supports fish and shrimp farmers maximise their income by connecting them with smart farm management tools, financial services and customers. Aquaconnect’s mobile app features predictive SaaS tools for pond management, which advance productivity and help farmers avoid disease risks. This farm data intelligence is then leveraged by Aquaconnect’s omnichannel marketplace, permitting farmers to transact directly with farm input manufacturers, banks, insurance companies, and certification bodies.
Presently the Chennai based firm works with over 30,000 aquaculture farmers across Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Gujarat, and Tamil Nadu.
Rajamanohar, founder and CEO of Aquaconnect, stated, “The recent investment from marquee investors like Rebright, Flourish, AgFunder, and others is a strong validation of our goal to become India’s largest aquaculture value chain aggregator, and will help us scale up in both size and scope. We will deploy the fresh capital to scale our farm advisory, financial services, and marketplace for seafood exports.”
Responding on the investment Brij Singh, general partner of Rebright Partners, stated, “We are backing Aquaconnect to help enable digital transformation in India’s aquaculture industry by supporting all stakeholders to increase exports of high-quality seafood with traceability to key markets like Japan.”
In spite of India being the world’s largest exporter of shrimp and second largest aquaculture producer globally, the industry is fraught with various challenges ranging from unscientific farming practices to inefficiencies in the value chain. The startup strategies to use this pre-series A funding to reinforce their GIS-enabled fintech product development and accelerate the volume of exports flowing through the platform.
Moreover, Aquaconnect intends to launch their series-A round in six to nine months.
Presently, shrimps, also commonly known as prawns, contribute around 70% of the total seafood export from India, which is worth about INR 45K Cr. The International Market Analysis Research and Consulting (IMARC) Group has estimated that the Indian shrimp farming market would reach a volume of 1.13 Mn tonnes by 2024, undergoing a CAGR of around 9% between 2019 and 2024. Despite this, the segment still lacks technological capabilities. Aqua employs AI to enhance this.
Globally, the aquaculture market was valued at $169 Bn in 2015 and is likely to grow at 5.3% CAGR to touch $242 Bn by 2022.