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Daily Markup #110: How Indonesia’s eFishery is uplifting fish farmers with technology and…

500 Southeast Asia Team



Fishing for the future

  • Gibran Huzaifah tried his hand at fish farming while studying aquaculture at Indonesia’s Bandung Institute of Technology. Wanting to boost his returns, Gibran consulted fellow fish farmers — only to uncover the inefficiencies in traditional fish farming.
  • It inspired Gibran to launch 500-backed eFishery in 2013, The first product is a WiFi-connected feeder that allows farmers to automate feeding schedules through their smartphones.
  • “Feeding makes up about 70–90% of the total fish farming cost. By feeding manually, much of the feed is wasted and pollutes the water. From there, I got the idea to build a smart feeding system called eFishery Feeder,” Gibran told KrAsia.
Credit: KrAsia
  • A core feature of the eFishery Feeder is its ability to gauge the fishes appetite and dispense feed when the timing is right.
  • “With more optimal feeding, it also helps speed up fish maturity so farmers can harvest quicker, from six months to four months, on average. This leads to better productivity and increased annual income,” Gibran added.
  • Aside from addressing farming needs, eFishery connects farmers with manufacturers directly to purchase feed at bulk as a group or for themselves, at a cheaper price.
  • Should farmers not be able to afford their feed, eFishery provides financial assistance with a buy-now-pay-later scheme.
  • “Since we collect data from the Feeder, we can do credit scoring for the farmers’ business, analyze their performance, and find out which farmers are reliable. We set credit limits based on that information,” said Gibran, adding that the eFishery Fund has approved nearly IDR 5 billion (US$340,000) in credit since it was introduced in January.
  • While eFishery operates in 24 provinces in Indonesia, it has also entered Vietnam, India, Thailand, and Bangladesh.
  • Read Gibran’s full interview with KrAsia.

The new frontier

  • Singapore has its eyes set on the vast abyss of space — and 500-backed Transcelestial is coming onboard.
  • It plans to put laser-connected satellites in space, with one purpose: To provide accessible and affordable internet to “roughly three and a half billion people”, according to Transcelestial co-founder Rohit Jha.
  • The team has created Centauri — a device that uses laser communication to create a wireless distribution network between buildings, traditional cell towers, street-level poles, and other physical infrastructure.
Credit: The Business Times
  • “All you have to do is position a satellite above (them), drop a laser link, and you can power high-bandwidth internet to everyone,” said Rohit when interviewed by Channel NewsAsia’s “Why It Matters”, a programme featuring the technologies and trends shaping the future.
  • Transcelestial is working hard for a global roll-out in 2024. The company raised a US$9.6 million Series A round in July.
  • Catch Rohit on Why It Matters.

Robot realism

  • The Telepresence Robot by OhmniLabs has certainly been utilized in more ways than one during this period of social distancing.
  • Graduation ceremonies, house and hospital visits, procuring exquisite art — the towering and impressively agile robot has allowed people to interact with each other, without needing physical presence.
  • Designed to be simple and inconspicuous, the Telepresence Robot goes back to its charging dock with the click of a button and fits well in any home setting.
  • “We want to fit into an environment, just like a piece of furniture. Something you feel comfortable having around,” CEO Thuc Vu told SFGate.
Credit: SFGate
  • One other useful feature of OhmniLabs’ telepresence robot is that it doesn’t require a second party to “accept” a call. The person controlling the robot can turn it on anytime. This is especially useful for those with aging relatives that live far away from them.
  • “I have a robot I use with my mom. She’s 80 years old and she doesn’t live with me, but I can just log into her apartment anytime I want. And because the robot is mobile, I can log into the family room where the dock is and if she’s in the kitchen or her bedroom, I just go find her. It’s so much easier than trying to get her to do FaceTime.” said Laura Guy, OhmniLab’s content manager.
  • As physical isolation becomes commonplace for the foreseeable future, OhmniLab’s metal creations will help people keep their loved ones close, despite the distance.

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500 Startups is a venture capital firm on a mission to discover and back the world’s most talented entrepreneurs, help them create successful companies at scale, and build thriving global ecosystems. In Southeast Asia, 500 Startups invests through the pioneering 500 Southeast Asia family of funds. The 500 Southeast Asia funds have backed over 240 companies across multiple sectors from internet to consumer to deep technology. It continues to connect founders with capital, expertise and powerful regional and global networks to help them succeed.

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500 Southeast Asia Team