When she was young, Ottari Octavianti felt vulnerable because of her hometown of Kampung Bahru, a remote fishing village in eastern Kalimantan, Indonesia, where many did not have access to education. Therefore, Octaviante considered herself “happy” when her parents sent her to a high school in the city, but soon discovered that there was a “gap” between her and her classmates. “I was bullied because I come from a coastal town, I was not like my colleagues who already had a good education and did not experience economic hardship,” says Otari.
In this report, published by the American “CNBC” website, author Goh Chiu Tong touched on the story of this young woman in detail.
That experience sparked enthusiasm in Octaviante, who took it upon herself to make sure her village was not known again for its poverty, but for its potential. “I did not know at the time how to make this dream come true, I just wrote it in my diary,” explains Otari Octavianti. Today, the idea is no longer just words on paper but a reality.
Otari, now 28, is the co-founder of Aruna, an Indonesian e-commerce company for fisheries that acts as a merger of an end-to-end supply chain, giving fishermen access to a global network. To date, the company has raised $ 65 million in Series A funding, which according to Aruna is the largest Series A funding for Indonesian beginners.
Octaviante’s entrepreneurial journey began in 2015, fueled by Octaviante’s desire to eat seafood when she was a final-year technology student in Bandung, where “good seafood” was not easy to find. “My family ate seafood at home every day, but suddenly it became very difficult to find it. I thought how wonderful it would be if we could buy seafood directly from the fishermen in the coastal villages.”
Ottari Octavianti shared her idea with her classmates Fred Nofal Aslam and Indraka Fadlallah and together they created a website designed to meet consumers’ demands for seafood and connect them with fishermen. It was then that the 21-year-old group decided to join the Hackathon Merdeka for capital, and it was a surprise for them to win.
But the biggest surprise was the amount of interest Aruna attracted after the launch of the website, as they received nearly a thousand tons of seafood orders from customers, from restaurants and import companies outside Indonesia that need a continuous supply of seafood.
The trio soon started working on two MacBooks that they won in the hackathon to build on the site and to supplement the shortage with freelance web designer staff.
The first large batch of capital came from another competition in which they won a cash prize of about $ 700. Although the amount was “too little”, Octavianti and her co-founders used it to run a pilot program in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, where they stayed with the fishing community for a month. At the end of their stay, they entered into their first agreement with a local restaurant in Bandung. And that was the moment when they realized that their idea had become a reality. “I felt like we could actually make it happen,” Octavianti says.
Find the right investors
Over the years, Aruna’s business has expanded to include more fishing villages in Indonesia. As the demand for seafood grew, so did the company’s business. But one of the challenges Octaviante faced was finding the right investors.
“There are a lot of investors in Indonesia, but finding an investor who understands our business is not easy, and we were selective and wanted investors not to look at the company’s potential, but at its impact,” he said. says Octavianti. Octavianti adds that her company exported 44 million kilograms of seafood to 7 countries last year, mostly to the United States and China.
Octavianti believes that rigor in the choice of investors has made the company more attractive. “We are open to investors about the challenges we face, but in return we also expect them to help us, for example, to communicate or solve problems. too loose. “
In January, Arona announced the receipt of $ 30 million in Series A financing, led by Vertex Ventures for Southeast Asia and India. With the new funding received, Octavianti wants to expand to more fishing villages in Indonesia and invest in sustainable fishing practices. Currently, more than 26,000 fishermen in 150 fishing communities in Indonesia are dependent on Aruna. Furthermore, the company inspires many fishermen and advises them not to use fishing tools such as trawls and bombs that will harm the marine environment.