Kenyan fish farming startup Aquarech has raised US$1.7 million in equity funding to help it improve outcomes for small-scale fish farmers in Kenya through its mobile app platform.
Founded in 2019 and led by Kisumu-based founder and CEO Dave Okech, alongside co-founders James Odede and Joseph Okoth, Aquarech is working to streamline the production behind fish farming with a mobile app platform that allows manufacturers, farmers, and buyers to trade, buy, and sell quality fish-feed, as well as learn best aquaculture practices and how to improve their incomes.
Local farmers often face lack of resources and access to high-quality feed. Aquarech’s mission is to help increase production, improve small-scale farmer economics, and promote the overall growth of the aquaculture industry in Kenya. To achieve this, Aquarech supports small-scale farmers from all angles – by providing quality feed and climate smart precision fish feeding techniques, market access, technical training and financial access, including a 90-day credit period to pay for feed.
The startup has now raised US$1.7 million in equity funding to hire talent, acquire more feed, and set up infrastructure to support more vertical integration of its technology. The investment was led by Netherlands-based global aquaculture investment fund Aqua-Spark, with additional capital from Acumen, Katapult and Mercy Corps Ventures.
“The proverb says, ‘If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime,’ and that’s what we’ve set out to do, starting by improving by improving the aquaculture value chain,” said Okech. “The funding and partnership provided by our investors will promote the growth of our mobile-enabled platform, which is unlocking barriers faced by smallholder fish farmers and bringing the various value chain actors together while remaining farmer-centric.”
Christiaan Lensvelt, head of new deals at Aqua-Spark, said Aquarech was committed to improving local livelihoods by supporting smallholder to medium farmers to become commercially and environmentally sustainable.
“We look forward to supporting Dave and his team in achieving great things for the industry as one of the few aquaculture startups in Africa with a unique combination of field experience and digital tools,” he said.