The Indonesian aquafeed technology startup was accepted as a member of the Pearse Lyons Accelerator in February. It is one of 10 selected ag-tech startups.
We caught up with Rully setya Purnama, eFishery COO at One Alltech’s Ideas conference to hear more about the work the company has been doing and the process of taking part in the accelerator program.
The company offers an automatic or programmable feeder for different species of farmed fish raised in small and medium sized ponds, and collects metrics on production that are stored in the cloud, he said. It took about two years of development to establish the initial fish feeding system.
That system can be used to supply feed over a larger space in a pond and can be activated by sensors that detect when fish display specific behavior, he said. “Our technology can feed the fish automatically and sense the fish appetite and adjust the feed amount according with the appetite,” he added.
“We avoid overfeeding,” he said. “We can optimize the feed intake and with the feed intake we can boost the growth of fish – usually people have limited time and ability to feed the fish in the right way.”
Taking part in the accelerator program is not the first time that Purnama worked with Alltech, he said. Previously he worked for several years in the fish farming industry with a barramundi producer and used Alltech feeds.
“I know their products, and know their networks,” he said. “They have a good network in the industry and, with that, they can help us with market expansion.”
The ag-tech company has had a mentorship through the program that focused on several aspects of management including investments, marketing and sales, he said.
Feed technology and market expansion
The technology eFishery uses currently works with the production of several different species of fish including tilapia, catfish and carp, said Purnama. However, they are planning the release of a second line of feeders aimed at shrimp production.
Unlike the initial feeders, which present feed in an arch, the shrimp feeders have been designed for larger ponds and offer a 360 degree range of feed distribution, he said.
Spreading the feed in a wider area also helps fish mature at similar rates, he said. When the fish vary in size, those considered overly large or small sell for less.
“About 84% of our revenue comes from renting models for reoccurring revenue,” he said. “We are using the mobile apps to control the feed [and] the app sends the data to the cloud so we can monitor it.”
At the moment, eFishery is focused on work expanding its market in Indonesia, he said. But, they are also part of a project with Feed the Future: Asia innovative Farmers Activity to trial the feeder in Bangladesh and a partnership with Kasetsart University in Thailand.
The goal in the next five years is to reach into Indonesia, Bangladesh, Thailand, Vietnam, China and India, he added because the aquaculture market in those countries is so large.
Looking forward, the company is also considering ways to better streamline fish production and sales for producers, he said. It is examining if it can use the information generated by farmers to develop a predictive analysis feature that would provide information at multiple steps from feed manufacturing all the way to the end user.
Accelerator program overview
The companies selected to take part in the Alltech accelerator were given mentorship opportunities, space with Dublin-based Dogpatch Labs and a cash fund, said Alltech. The mentoring is set to include a range of topics including development and international expansion.
The selected projects, along with eFishery presented their projects during the One conference in Kentucky in May.
However, animal nutrition or production was not a necessary part of an ag-tech company’s work to be included in the accelerator, Aiden Connolly, Alltech’s chief innovation officer, told us in a previous interview.
“We were not looking specifically for companies in the nutrition area,” he said. “We were very interested in some of the areas of digital technologies and innovation, and of course the partnership with Dogpatch to some degree also confirmed that direction.
“While it is surprising that we did not receive more nutritional applicants, it is clear that all of these technologies have synergies, which are very important as the area of nutrition continues to incorporate big data,” he said.