DELOS, an Indonesian aquaculture-tech company, said Wednesday it has raised $8 million in seed extension financing co-led by Centauri, a collaborative fund between MDI Ventures and KB Investment Co., Ltd. and Alpha JWC Ventures, a Southeast Asian venture capital fund.

The round was joined by existing investors, Number Capital, Arise, iSeed SEA, Irvan Kolonas, as well as Alto Partners Multi-Family Office, Mahanusa Capital, Kopi Kenangan Founder James Prananto, and a number of strategic follow-on investors, DELOS said in a statement.

The company plans to use the funds to accelerate the onboarding of its vast backlog of client farms, and continue to build and scale its main products AquaHero, AquaLink, and AquaBank to accelerate the growth of Indonesian aquaculture.

Founded in 2021 by Guntur Mallarangeng, Bobby Indra Gunawan, Alexander Farthing, and Aristya Noerhadi, DELOS seeks to drive the growth and modernization of the Indonesian aquaculture industry and its integration into the global seafood industry, a vision the company calls the “Blue Revolution”. DELOS’ founder mix brings a multidisciplinary team that includes aquaculture, marine and microbiology, technology, and business backgrounds working in concert to accelerate the growth of the Indonesian aquaculture industry.

“Indonesia is currently the third largest exporter of shrimp in the world. Yet, the market is still both highly fragmented and stuck with legacy inefficient farming practices that have been around for decades. This has led Indonesia’s shrimp farming yields to be well below global standards. DELOS comes with tangible data-driven solutions to day-to-day problems faced by shrimp farmers, and its early traction has proven its effectiveness in optimizing farm operations and significantly growing output. With its founders’ expertise and network, we are confident DELOS can be at the forefront of Indonesia’s aquaculture revolution,” said Eko Kurniadi, Partner at Alpha JWC Ventures.

Meanwhile, Centauri Fund Managing Partner Kenneth Li strongly holds the belief that agriculture is one of Indonesia’s grassroots industries that contributes to a sizable portion of the national gross domestic product (GDP).

“In addition, the shrimp industry in Indonesia is both one of the largest in the world and the largest contributor to Indonesia’s overall fishing industry. This is due to the higher selling price of shrimp which is derived from the risks and difficulties involved with its production. Minor changes in the water or feed quality can greatly impact the survival rate and yield, by which DELOS is able to produce a staggering yield output of 2-3x industry average. DELOS is able to solve these problems by implementing modern and standardized production methods and providing scalable supply chain solutions,” he said.

In its few months of operations following its initial seed round, DELOS has been working on developing its leading product line, AquaHero, a full-stack farm productivity system that combines scientific expertise, technology, and operational excellence to boost farm yields.

The AquaHero product utilizes top-class data collection methods and a cutting edge biological model to predict and mitigate harvest risk, a model that will be trained on thousands of shrimp ponds within the DELOS ecosystem across Indonesia. That, combined with the necessary technology stack and operational expertise, will serve to increase farm productivity for the Indonesian aquaculture industry.

Historically, DELOS has been able to help its clients double their yield through the application of AquaHero. This has resulted in its client base’s farm yields continuing to outperform the Indonesian shrimp aquaculture industry average of 10-15 tons/ha/cycle yield.

“DELOS’ reception in the aquaculture industry has been positive, with client acquisition outpacing the team’s capability to onboard farms. Since November 2021, the company is on track to on-boarding 100 hectares of intensive and super-intensive shrimp farms, with an existing demand backlog of more than 600 hectares in our pipeline. We want to push Indonesia to realize and harness the true potential of its vast seas, making them into major, and sustainable, national economic drivers in the near future.” said Guntur.

This year, the company will continue to reinforce and expand AquaHero’s product scope, accuracy, features, and clients, with the spirit of improving farm productivity and profitability, thus adding value to the industry. It is targeting at least 200 hectares under management in a year’s time.

Aside from the core issue of productivity, supply chain integration into foreign markets and access to financing are still structural problems that the Indonesian aquaculture industry needs to address in order to realize its full potential and capture its full value. To solve this problem, DELOS also aims to develop and scale AquaLink, its supply chain integration product, which helps farmers obtain the best options to source their inputs and sell their produce at premium prices or terms of payment, beginning with shrimp feed, seed, and sale at harvest.

Going forward, DELOS seeks to be able to consolidate the value chain from end-to-end, all the way to global consolidation through processing, branding, export and selling directly to higher-value foreign markets such as the U.S. and Japan.

The aquaculture industry is still significantly underbanked, which results in most farmers putting up capital out of their own pockets, rather than being integrated into the larger national financial system. This has created a bottleneck to industry-wide growth, as risk is wholly assumed by farmers without a viable backup plan – resulting in many failed farms.

DELOS sees this as an opportunity to competitively provide tailored financial products through AquaBank for farms that the company has visibility over, as they will be able to more accurately assess needs and risks of the individual farms within their ecosystem, allowing DELOS to equip farms with the best shot at success.

In order to support DELOS’ long term goals that are aligned with the future of Indonesian aquaculture, the company is establishing the DELOS Maritime Institute (DMI) in Yogyakarta. The Institute will be a training center for specialized aquaculture talent development, with a world-class curriculum and on-site practical training, to seed the new generation of farm managers, technicians, lab assistants, and field operators. Additionally, it will also support the research and development of cutting edge technologies in aquaculture technology, such as early disease detection and prevention and supporting farm infrastructure.

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