How This 26-Year-Old Lady Turned N290k She Won in Competition to Billions of Naira Fishery Business

How This 26-Year-Old Lady Turned N290k She Won in Competition to Billions of Naira Fishery Business

  • A 26-year-old lady from remote fishing village discovered she could make billions of naira through fishery business
  • Utari Octavianty began to mull over an idea when she first craved seafood while she was studying in a university
  • She shared her ideas with her classmates which helped her launch her business and went on to raise over N200 billion naira in funding

Utari Octavianty always felt like the underdog due to her background.

Her hometown, a remote fishing village is in Kampung Bahru in Indonesia, does not have access to education.

The town was even used in a derogatory proverb which makes them believe they won’t amount to anything.

Octavianty, Fishery business, Indonesia
Co-founder of Aruna, Utari Octavianty with her classmates Credit: Octavianty
Source: UGC

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The birth of an idea

That was the reason Octavianty thought herself lucky when her parents decided to enrol her in junior high school in the city. She quickly realised there was a gap between her and her schoolmates.

Octavianty said she was always bullied because she came from a fishing village. She told CNBC she was not the same as people who already had a good education and without any economic disadvantages.

That experience ignited a passion in her which inspired a personal mission, which is to make sure that one day, her village will famous for its potential and not for its poverty.

She stated that at the time she didn’t know how she was going to make her dream come through.

The now 28-year-old lady is the co-founder of Aruna, an Indonesian fisheries e-commerce start-up which works as an end-to-end supply chain aggregator, giving fishermen access to a network globally.

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The company has raised about N26,9 billion in Series A funding which, according to her is the largest funding for any Indonesian start-up.

It all began in 2015 when Octavianty craved seafood when she was a final year technology student in the city of Bandung.

Humble beginnings

She said it was not easy to find good seafood. Her family serves seafood at home every day, but all of a sudden, it was difficult to come by. She thought to herself that it would be great to find seafood directly from fishermen.

She shared her idea with her classmates, Farida Naufal Aslam and Indraja Fadhillah. They created a website together which aims at meeting the seafood demands of consumers and connecting them to local fishermen.

Then at the age of 21, Octavianty decided to join a competition called Hackathon Merdeka to get seed capital.

Surprisingly, they won.

The bigger shock was the amount of interest her start-up generated after it launched her website.

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She said they got 1000 tons worth of seafood demand from clients, ranging from restaurants and importing companies outside Indonesia which need a consistent supply of seafood.

They immediately went to work with the two MacBook computers they won in the hackathon to continue building the website and using freelance jobs in web design.

Raising the first capital

Their most important pool of capital came from another competition where they notched up a cash prize of about N290,000.

Though it was a “very small” amount, Octavianty and her co-founders used it to run a pilot program in the seaport city of Balikpapan, East Kalimantan. They stayed with a fishing community for a month.

At the end of their stay, they made their first transaction with a local restaurant in Bandung. That was the moment they realized their idea was not something that only worked on paper.

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Recall that has reported that Olivia Hillier started her side business with just $5, the equivalent of N2,000 with a T-shirt she saw in a thrift store.

The medical student at Rochester, a Michigan-based Oakland University had some experience selling a few of her old clothing items on the resale app, Poshmark. She hardly thought much of it.

But as the COVID-19 pandemic raged in 2020, Hillier noticed that other Poshmark sellers were making a profit from flipping trendy thrift store shopping.


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