Aruna Ecosystem-Based Fishery Management Systems

An Indonesian Startup Revolutionizes the Indonesian Fisheries Supply Chain through Technology

Utari Octavianty, Farid Naufal Aslam, and Indraka Fadhillah were IT students at Telkom University, in Indonesia, driven by the same vision of using their talent to help Indonesian fishermen/women. In 2016, they co-founded Aruna, a start-up offering an integrated fisheries commerce and supply chain aggregator. A high-impact start-up, Aruna helped over 36,000 fishers so far and helped create thousands of jobs.

Indraka Fadhillah, Utari Octavianty, and Farid Naufal Aslam, the three co-founders of Aruna, standing, with dark jacket and blue Aruna tee-shirts
Image: Aruna

Indonesia is the world’s second-largest fisheries producer, supporting over 7 million jobs, and creating some USD 4.1 billion in annual export. Back in 2016, the three IT students realized that the fishery sector suffered from an inefficient supply chain and bad quality control. Some 25 percent of fishers lived below the poverty line. They were convinced that technology could help. Aruna’s winning of Hackathon Merdeka in 2016, and a video testimonial from Indonesian President Joko Widodo helped with the company’s trust and credibility.

Farid, now CEO, concentrated on central computer improvement, Indraka, COO, on information technology management, while Utari, Chief Sustainability Officer, focused on sustainability and communication. Utari’s uncle was the leader of fishers in the Balikpapan coastal area, where she grew up, and her parents used to sell fishing gear.

Seafood ERP Software and Fishery Supply Chain Solutions

According to Aruna, the company “aims to make Indonesia the global maritime axis by revolutionizing the fishery supply chain, building financial inclusion, and implementing the concepts of sustainable fisheries.” One of the company’s motto is “People, Profit, and Planet.”

Two men in shorts wearing gloves bent over red plastic crates containing different kinds of fish
Image: Aruna

Aruna developed upstream, midstream, and downstream technology to help small-scale fishers. Its upstream technology includes “Aruna Heroes”, allowing fishers part of the Aruna Fisher Community to sell their catch commodities to Aruna; and Aruna Fishers App, a profiling application improving the fishers’ performance through a bonus management system.

The company’s Enterprise Resource Planning Dashboard is its midstream technology, powered by big data and allowing Aruna to manage transaction data, processed fish production, and fish commodity movements.

Aruna’s downstream technology “Seafood by Aruna” is a website displaying information on the company’s products for retail and wholesale buyers. Aruna relies on strong trademarks to promote its business.

“Seafood by Aruna” Raised Income for Fishers in Indonesia

Launched in 2016, Aruna has shown remarkable growth. The company established its first hub in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan. In 2017, the company received its first funding to extend the Aruna Fishermen community networks, and by 2018 Aruna had expanded throughout the major islands of Indonesia, helping increase fishers’ income by three to twelve times, according to the co-founders. Over 5,000 fishers and over 100 coastal women were members of Aruna’s Fishermen community in 2019, with eight export destinations. In 2020, the company secured an investor’s funding of USD 5,5 million and launched the Seafood by Aruna platform.

A man in a blue Aruna hat and tee-shirt is squatting next to scales, holding a lobster to weigh it
Image: Aruna

In 2021, the company supported over 36,000 fishermen in 27 provinces and helped create 5,000 new jobs in rural areas across the country. Each Aruna hub averages 10 fishing villages each having between 30 and 100 fishers. Aruna has 140 hubs across Indonesia. The co-founders estimate that each fishing village fostered by Aruna can earn between IDR 300 million and 1.5 billion per month.

Promoting Sustainable Fishery in Indonesia

“Aruna aims to make Indonesia the global maritime axis by revolutionizing the fishery supply chain, building financial inclusion, and implementing the concepts of sustainable fisheries,” the co-founders said. The growing global demand for sustainable fishery will feed an expanding market. The company exports products to Singapore, China, the United States, and several other countries. Aruna also started to sell its products on the domestic market.

The company launched the Aruna Blue Swimming Crab Cultivation Research and provides a secluded crab nursery where crabs can be grown from a larvae stage. The solar panel-powered facility serves to promote marine sustainability, particularly in crab catching. If successful, the program would allow fishers to maintain productivity outside of crab season.

A smiling fisherman in a blue Aruna tee-shirt is holding a blue swimming crab
Image: Aruna

Aruna’s latest initiative is “A Lobster Farm”, a sustainable tourist village located in a mostly untouched area in Bali’s Amed Beach. The project aims to increase local tourism and illustrate the “from sea to table” concept, where the catches of local fishers are directly channeled to support the tourism industry. The high market demand for lobsters is an opportunity to enhance the livelihoods of local coastal communities.

Education for Sustainability and Support to Local Community

Through the Maritim Nusantara Lestari Foundation, Aruna engages residents, particularly the youth, in managing the restored mangrove forest and building fishers’ capacity, for instance in money management. The Foundation also donates books for coastal children and provides free health checkups.

The company also seeks to educate fishers on the preservation of Indonesia’s seas’, including through sustainable fishing and environmentally friendly fishing gear.

Contributing to Ocean Sustainability and the Blue Economy

Beyond helping fishers connect to buyers, Aruna is providing job opportunities and training for coastal women. They are charged with inspecting and sorting out commodities in Aruna Hub. The company relies on the women’s traditional ecological knowledge that contributes to the sustainability and conservation of marine and coastal ecosystems.

The company educates fishers about sustainable fisheries and partners with intermediaries. It also follows a zero-waste policy.

Blue swimming crab is one of Aruna’s primary commodities. The activity of meat extracting results in a large amount of shell waste. In 2020, Aruna’s average monthly transaction produced around 3,900 kg of shell waste per hub. Through Aruna’s Zero Waste Hub, the company’s blue swimming crab shell waste drying house at one of the Aruna Hubs located in Bangkalan, Eastern Java, the crab shell is turned into powder and transformed into fish feed.

Trademarks for Product Differentiation in the Fishing Industry

Aruna registered three trademarks in Indonesia, “Aruna”, “Bakko”, and “Toona.” According to the co-founders, IP is “one of the very important assets of any company.” “Our trademarks are an important asset because it is attached to our company’s reputation and serves as a differentiator between products or services developed by our company and products or services from other companies.” “Our company is committed to developing good-quality products and services, and therefore our trademarks give identity to our products and services,” they said, adding, “we strive to increase customer trust and loyalty with our trademarks.”

Making Indonesia the World’s Maritime Axis

The three co-founders’ dream and vision are to make Indonesia the world’s maritime axis by 2045 and continue to contribute to economic inclusion and the implementation of sustainable business practices. Aruna also plans to focus on the domestic market.

Last update:

December 13, 2022


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