Aquaconnect raises $15 million as it seeks to expand

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
20 December 2022, at 7:00am

Aquaconnect* has raised $15 million (INR 120 crore) in a bid to triple its AquaPartners network in India and accelerate exports to US, China and Japan.

a man standing beside a fish farm
Rajamanohar Somasundaram, founder and CEO of Aquaconnect

The new funding follows on from a $4 million pre-series A round from Rebright, Flourish Ventures and AgFunder in 2021.

The Series A funding round was led by Lok Capital, with participation from Louis Dreyfus Company Ventures and Suneight Investment, along with existing investors including Omnivore, Rebright Partners, Flourish Ventures and Hatch.

Aquaconnect says that it will utilise the fresh funds to strengthen its portfolio of scalable solutions that use AI and satellite remote sensing and widen its service offerings in both the pre-harvest and post-harvest aquaculture value chain - to input retailers, seafood buyers and other stakeholders.

Currently, the company has a network of over 500 AquaPartners - rural entrepreneurs who provide last-mile assistance - serving over 90,000 fish and shrimp farmers.

Commenting on the Series A fund round, Rajamanohar Somasundaram, founder and CEO of Aquaconnect, said in a press release: “We’ve added about 500 AquaPartners in the last 12 months and this network has helped us scale phenomenally across six major aquaculture production states. In the next 12 months, we are set to triple our AquaPartners’ network across India and optimise our service offerings.”

Aquaconnect says that it has built a robust logistics infrastructure in India's rural and coastal regions, with fulfilment centres in multiple strategic locations that enable overnight delivery to its partners. In the post-harvest chain, the company aims to scale its seafood market linkage across domestic markets in India. Furthermore, Aquaconnect plans to accelerate seafood exports to the top import markets like the US, China and Japan and capture a significant share in the blue protein segment, globally.

“We have been operating our domestic market linkages and overseas exports under stealth. As our pilots have shown great success, our team is geared up to scale the success we have achieved and enhance our B2B offerings in the next 12-18 months,” added Somasundaram.

“Aquaculture is a great means for smallholder farmers to enjoy significant upward economic mobility. While aquaculture might seem like a niche agtech space, it is the sunrise sector in India showing double-digit YoY growth with a $15 billion market opportunity. However, the industry is hampered by inefficiencies in the value chain and poses a huge scope for tech disruption. Yet its true potential is untapped. Aquaconnect, with its deep-tech intervention, has the potential to disrupt the Indian aquaculture value chain and emerge as a key player in the growing blue food segment. We are excited to be a part of Aquaconnect’s growth, while it chases its aspiring goals and scales its operations in the domestic and global markets” said Hari Krishnan, a partner at Lok Capital.

Lok Capital has been investing since 2007 in India and has deployed over $250 million so far across three funds. It is currently investing out of its fourth fund, focusing on fintech, climate-tech, agritech and health-tech across Series A and B rounds.

“The next 12-18 months will be challenging and exciting at the same time, the fresh funds will help us to accelerate our efforts and strengthen tech capabilities and bring efficiency and transparency in the aquaculture value chain,'' said Somasundaram.

*Aquaconnect is part of Hatch’s investment portfolio, but The Fish Site retains editorial independence.