Deep Blue Sea(food): How Indonesian Marine Fisheries Startup Aruna Being Recognized at the International Level

The business and impact story of Farid Aslam, CEO & Co-Founder of Aruna, The Largest Integrated Fisheries Commerce in Indonesia, attracts the attention of six global business leaders during a three-day virtual international selection panel; resulting in further and continuous support for scale-up.

Jakarta, 21 May 2021 – With over 17,000 islands, Indonesia becomes the largest archipelago in the world and the second-largest coastline span around 54,720 km – yet the traditional fishing industry is still facing poverty and underdevelopment. There are over 2.7M fishermen in Indonesia (1% of the population), that make up an outsized percentage (25%) of the people below the poverty line, typically due to a lack of access to the market and market knowledge, resulting in 1000% markups on produce prior to landing on the consumer’s plate.

The idea to empower the fishing community through technology is a risk worth taking.

Comes from a Sanskrit word that means “Sunrise” / “The light from the east”, Aruna has a noble mission to making the sea a better livelihood for all, through technology innovation.

Aruna makes the sea a better livelihood for all by offering efficiency in trading seafood, providing wider access to local and overseas markets, and empowering the local fishermen community by employing the surrounding communities to work at Aruna’s fish-processing miniplants. Aruna is currently operating all over Indonesia, from Sumatera to Papua, empowering more than 20,000+ fisherman partners in 32 spots and opening more job opportunities in the coastal villages.

Aruna’s managed marketplace offers efficiency in trading seafood and provides value to a variety of stakeholders. For fishermen, it provides wider access to local and overseas markets, empowers local fishermen community, and helps train people on sustainable fishing practices and ensuring traceability. Aruna also offers access to the necessities fishermen rely on in collaboration with various parties, such as through providing capital, insurance, fishing needs, fishing gear, etc. Its efforts lead to a 3-10X average increase in fisherman’s incomes (from $80 to $600+), making the average Aruna fisherman earn 2-3X the average monthly wage in Indonesia, and providing hundreds of other jobs for people in the community. For buyers, such as B2C platforms (Grab, Go, etc), and B2B wholesalers, it represents a trusted and convenient way to purchase sustainably-sourced, seafood products traceable down to the fisherman’s profile and location where it was caught.

Since day one, Aruna has trained its fishermen with sustainable fishing practices based on WWF standards. With its IoT and technology, Aruna is also able to provide traceability for its produce, which is not only aligned with sustainable fishing but a great value-add to the company and suppliers. With the global seafood market estimated to reach $155B by 2023, Aruna is targeting a $12B seafood market in Asia, North America, Europe, and the Middle East for the high-value fish commodities, aiming to become the largest marine fisheries platform in the world.

A strong support system to turbocharge growth

Farid was one of Forbes 30 under 30 Asia Class of 2020, together with Indraka and Utari, the co-founders of Aruna. He graduated from Telkom University in Management of ICT Business in 2016 and partook in executive education at the University of California Berkeley and Massachusets Institute of Technology. The three co-founders initially ideated the concept in 2015, when they won a prestigious hackathon competition held by the Indonesian Government, called “Hackathon Merdeka”.

Soon after establishing Aruna in 2016, the team quickly created their first miniplant and fishermen community in Balikpapan, Borneo Island, and they expanded to east Indonesia in 2018. The business started to take off in 2019 and launching its first foreign exports to China. It has been able to sustain the sales growth momentum, ending the year 2020 with significantly high growth in revenue, despite the pandemic where air freight was unpredictable and limited.

Aruna attracts attention and recognition in Indonesia and beyond through numerous awards namely the grand winner of Alipay-NUS Enterprise Social Innovation Challenges, Startup of The Year 2019 for Social Impact category from Tempo, The Most Social Impact Startup 2019 by The Ministry of Research, Technology, and Higher Education, as well as being featured in notable media such as Forbes, DealStreetAsia, CNN, TechCrunch, Reuters, The Strait Times, and many more.

Following that, Farid’s vision through Aruna took him to a bigger and deeper level. A global community of, by, and for entrepreneurs, Endeavor, decided to take a plunge in his business and himself as a high-impact entrepreneur. Farid was recommended by Endeavor Indonesia Board Member, Pandu Sjahrir, who recognized Aruna as one of a few fastest-growing companies that he invested in through Agaeti Ventures. And ever since, Endeavor make sure he and them team never walk alone.

After a rigorous process filled with multiple mentoring sessions since early 2020, Farid is among 13 entrepreneurs from 9 markets around the world who got selected into the global Endeavor network by a panel of global business leaders including Steve Kessel, Former Senior Vice President,; Veronica Allende Serra, Founding Partner, Pacific Investments & Innova Capital Fund (Endeavor Global Board Member)Dan Green, Corporate Partner, Gunderson Dettmer LLP; Cesar Carvalho, Co-Founder & CEO, GymPass; Dr. Raoul Oberman, Co-Founder & CEO, Artemis Impact Pte Ltd (Endeavor Indonesia Board Member);  Monica Mandelli, Global Head of High Net Worth Group, KKR (Endeavor Italy Board Member); at the 15th Virtual Endeavor International Selection Panel held on May 17 – 19, 2021.


“Behind this extremely young entrepreneur, there’s someone that is incredibly humble and has a bright vision on the business,” said one of the panelists, Monica Mandelli, shown left.

“As a first-time entrepreneur myself, being selected as an Endeavor High-Impact Entrepreneur means I can turbocharge our impact through a lot of mentoring sessions and peer-to-peer connections from local, regional, and global network of Endeavor in order to support Aruna’s ambition to be the center of the world economic maritime commerce”, said Farid.

All panelists at the International Selection Panel unanimously agreed to vote for Farid Aslam and welcome them to the Endeavor network as an Endeavor Entrepreneur
All panelists at the International Selection Panel unanimously agreed to vote for Farid Aslam and welcome them to the Endeavor network as an Endeavor Entrepreneur

“We’re proud to welcome a brilliant and innovative entrepreneur to the Endeavor Indonesia network”, said Wayah Wiroto, the Managing Director of Endeavor Indonesia. “Aruna is creating both economic and social impact in the local coastal communities, which has been underserved and often marginalized. Endeavor could help Aruna in strengthening supply capabilities while maintaining the sustainability of the seafood commodities in order to support the sustainability of fishing and our sea ecosystem.”

The journey of Farid and Aruna can create great stories and examples for future generations of entrepreneurs.