GK Aqua Sdn Bhd, a Malaysian Biotechnology company is looking to raise a minimum of MYR2 million ($478,000) for 4.26 percent equity with a maximum target of MYR8 million ($1.91 million) for 15.09 percent equity via the Malaysian equity crowdfunding platform pitchIN.

“This investment will be used to capitalise on a fast-growing market, further research and development efforts, grow our team and scale our hatcheries. Through the utilisation of cutting edge biotechnology methods, we are able to produce all-male postlarvae (PL). This has resulted in the breeding of disease-resistant prawns that are 3 times larger in size weighing an estimate of 200 grams per prawn,” GK Aqua Founder and Chief Executive Officer Giva Kuppusamy said in a statement on Wednesday.

Founded in 2016 with a vision to make Malaysia an export country of top-quality freshwater prawns, GK Aqua is currently at a pre-money valuation of MYR45 million ($10.75 million).

With a mission to empower agropreneurs with an easy-to-scale business model coupled with cutting-edge biotechnology, GK Aqua has since enrolled 20 farmers into their freshwater prawn joint venture programme with farms ranging from medium to big scale. With harvesting made manageable and GK Aqua guaranteeing the repurchasing of the farmed freshwater prawns, farmers have since become more inclined to pursue freshwater prawn farming.

GK Aqua hatcheries are located in Batu Pelanduk, Negeri Sembilan and can produce 24 million PL per annum. In August 2021, GK Aqua began its exporting efforts and has thus far exported over 200,000 PL to Mauritius and Cairo with a value of $30,000.

The global freshwater prawn consumption market today is valued at $7 billion. In Malaysia, 3,000 metric tons of freshwater prawns are consumed annually with 90 percent imported to meet local demand. The species, locally known as “Udang Galah”, is popular in most seafood restaurants. The demand for large-sized prawns has risen to as high as MYR90/kg ($21.50/kg).

In July 2017, GK Aqua was awarded the BioNexus status by the Malaysian Bioeconomy Development Corporation. It has also played an instrumental role in developing shipping regulations for freshwater prawn PL in Malaysia.

In 2016, GK Aqua was awarded the top 100 World Community Solutions by the United States Department of State, emerged as one of the top 3 Projects in the Newton-Ungku Fund and was a top 6 finalist in the Persatuan Usahawan Maju Malaysia (PUMM) Malaysian Entrepreneur 2018 programme. Their freshwater prawn feed project has also earned them the best disruptive project award from HRH Prince Andrew, Duke of York.

GK Aqua is working closely with the Negeri Sembilan state government to develop the state into a recognised “prawn valley” and to create more entrepreneurship opportunities for Malaysians. GK Aqua recently won the January 2022 edition of Malaysian Business Angel Network’s (MBAN) Enter The Tiger’s Lair.

GK Aqua has raised a total of MYR4.6 million ($1.1 million) from PlatCOM, SME Corp, and Cradle through grants which were used to solidify their biotechnology research and digitising their farms.

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