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GK AQUA

Farm to fork

SUMMARY VIDEO

COMPANY DETAILS

Summary 

Large Freshwater Prawns (Udang Galah) is one of Malaysia’s well-loved local delicacies. Malaysia is the first country in the world to breed freshwater prawns successfully and has commercially farmed these prawns since the 1960s. GK Aqua is a locally grown startup leading in the biotechnology field for improving prawn farming efficiency. We tap into nature’s abilities and combine them with cutting-edge biotechnology to create all-male prawn farming (neo-females). That means we ensure higher yields, superior quality, and easier management of freshwater prawns with sustainable farming methods. Currently, our capacity in our hatchery is at 24 million postlarvae per annum and contract farming of 100 acres producing 300 MT of freshwater prawns. We sell our fully grown Udang Galah under our brand M’ Ros to assure our consumers of the highest seafood quality. We also hold a Bionexus Status awarded by the Malaysian Bioeconomy Development Corporation that gives us fiscal benefits, grants, and growth.

  • Invest in our team which has developed groundbreaking biotechnology to create a sustainable and highly scalable farming system for Udang Galah:
  • An award-winning technology from international and national competitions such as Community Solutions, Newton Fund and PUMM.
  • Altogether raised RM4.6 Million from Government Funds such as SME Corp, Cradle, and PlatCOM Ventures.
  • JBK and GMAC certification to ensure safe consumption of the Neo-Female prawns.
  • A market size of over USD 7 billion globally.

Now everyone can enjoy Udang Galah.

Reviews from our customers and partners:

“GK Aqua has done an excellent job in creating a sustainable supply of Udang Galah PL” - Director General Fisheries Malaysia

“GK Aqua Post Larvae have high growth and survival rates.” - Mr. James Wong

“Polyculture of freshwater prawns and marine shrimps in brackish water produce great economic return” - Mr. Lee - Marine Shrimp Farmer

Vision

To make Malaysia world-renowned as the country of origin for top-quality freshwater prawns.

Mission

To empower agropreneurs with an easy-to-scale business model coupled with cutting-edge biotechnology.

The Problem
Ever-Increasing Demand for Udang Galah

Worldwide demand is ever-increasing for aquaculture. According to CAPPMA, the demand for shrimp in major player markets such as the USA in 2018 had imported 697 thousand tons of shrimp, and China had exceeded 650 thousand tons. According to per capita consumption statistics, China would need to import more than 1 million tons of shrimp to meet the rising demand, of which 20 % of imports are freshwater prawns. The demand for freshwater prawns in Malaysia alone is 2700MT, where 90% of the freshwater prawns are imported to meet local demand.

This graph shows the exponential growth of production of giant freshwater prawns to meet the increasing global demand.

Not only is there an increasing global demand for the supply of freshwater prawns but local farmers that rear fish are also looking for alternatives to maximize the output of their farms due to the low-profit margins for fish rearing. They have turned to modern alternatives such as aquaponics by integrating vegetable farming into their systems to enable side income for their farms.

Traditional Farming Practices Are Inefficient And Not Competitive

In a typical Udang Galah mixed population culture, the ratio of males to females is 30:70, with the females ranging at about 58 grams compared to the large males of 171 grams. These vast differences in weight cause significant disparities in the pricing of the prawns and deter farmers from growing freshwater prawns. In the international market, females would go for USD 5 while males would be USD 15. Even though Malaysia is the first country in the world to successfully breed these prawns and have them named “Malaysian Giant Freshwater Prawns,” other countries such as Bangladesh have surpassed us in production rates whilst our production rates have remained stagnant for the past 30 years which contributes to the large gap between local demand and supply.

 

Furthermore, there is increasing pressure on the wild stock for Udang Galah broodstock for farming to meet the exponential local demand. Traditional methodologies of prawn farming utilize wild female broodstock where they would have to be selected and fertilized to hatch into fry. This creates problems with the farming system, which would not guarantee productivity rates, varied sizes of the prawns, and disease being rampantly spreading and harming the stock.

High Risks/Costs of Industry Deter People From Venturing Into Prawn Farming.

Even though it is common knowledge of the lucrative industry of freshwater prawn farming, the hardship of the practice and high costs would deter many people from venturing into this sector. The whole process is laborious with no guarantee on the yield of ponds because of the stark differences between male and female prawn sizes. Farmers are especially aware of the difficulties such as the spread of diseases and how the water must be of the optimum quality to guarantee yield. Imported feed is usually used for hatcheries to grow out the fry which contributes to high costs, and harvests can only happen in 6-8 months with less than 300 kg per acre.

The Solution
All-Male Prawn Breeding That Can Scale to Meet Demand

We have produced the technology to create an All-Male Breeding Prawn (in other words, “neo-female”). What does this mean? Yes, you thought right; we have managed to use biotechnology intervention to modify the prawns to enable the male prawns to bear eggs and create spawn that is all male. The fantastic results with our genetically improved prawns produce includes:

  • 3 x larger in size prawns, roughly around 200 grams per prawn
  • Disease-resistant prawns.
  • 200% higher market value for male prawns
  • Harvesting becomes more manageable without separating female prawns and ensures uniformity in size and actual growth rates.

Our hatcheries are currently located at Batu Pelanduk with the capacity of producing 24 million postlarvae (PL) per annum. Moreover, we have contract farming of 100 acres producing 300 MT of freshwater prawns.

Easy Set-up and Onboarding Model for Farmers to Adopt

Our easy-to-scale model allows us to come in as the experts to farmers with a pond, and we can help them set up their prawn production right away. Our business model is cyclical and will guarantee a supply of fry to the farmers and a buyback of the fully grown prawns, so they do not have to bother about aspects of the business such as marketing or logistics. Our modified prawns also grow at a much faster rate than the traditional prawn farming methods, where harvests happen in 4 months vs. the typical length of 9 months. An average farmer using GK Aqua prawns would also benefit from 134% greater yield per annum compared to a typical freshwater prawn farm.

Committed to Quality With Certified Prawns for Safe Consumption

Our Post Larvae have been sent for testing under Malaysia's JBK (Jabatan Biokeselamatan) and GMAC (Jawatankuasa Penasihate Pengubahsuian Genetik) who concluded that the neo-females to be deemed as safe for commercial use and consumption and are considered non-GMO. LIR Biotech internationally accredited lab also tests our prawns to be free of disease to ensure the quality of the prawn stock supplied to farmers to guarantee a return. In addition, we have developed disease-resistant traits into our monosex freshwater prawns to ensure that the risk of disease is negated. Recently we have started exporting our branded prawns to other countries such as Egypt and Dubai.

Product
How Does Our Cutting Edge Technology Work?

We manage to knock out the male gene at a very early stage of the freshwater prawn development to ensure that the prawn becomes a neo-female through our biotech intervention. So essentially, we are changing father prawns to become mother prawns, and through natural breeding processes, they would carry and produce Post Larvae (PL) that are all male.

We Value Add in All Aspects of the Value Chain for Neo-Female Freshwater Prawns.

Developing Superior Quality Broodstock

We develop our improved genetic broodstock, targeting to produce monosex freshwater prawns. In 2017 when we first launched our pilot hatchery in Lengge, Negeri Sembilan, we managed to produce 2 Million Post Larvae (PL) per year. As we have expanded operations to our Commercial hatchery in Bukit Pelanduk, Negeri Sembilan in late 2020 due to the increasing demand of our PL, we now operate 3 Hatcheries producing about 24 million PL a year for commercial use which scalable to 240 million PL to meet the demand of 3000 MT for Malaysia market. At our facility, we handle broodstock and postlarvae production development and incorporate several biotechnology elements adapted for better freshwater prawn management systems.

Joint Ventures With Experienced Farmers Who Are Interested in Rearing Udang Galah 

Once our PL is of marketable size for farming, we then sell it to our contracted farmers who cultivate the freshwater prawns to their full-grown adult size. We also provide consultation services to farmers for the setup of the freshwater prawn system, and under our supervision and development guidelines, we can ensure the quality of the fully grown male freshwater prawns. Our consultation will value add into these farmers' systems to include investment management, marketing, implementing growth strategies, and improving their supply chain. We have even contracted fish rearers, including those who rear Empurau and Talapia to integrate our prawn farming into their fisheries. 


Case Study:

 

Handling the Entire Process From Farm to Fork 

Once the freshwater prawns are fully matured and ready for harvest, we would guarantee to buy back from the farmers at a predetermined price. In addition, the farmers' expenses, such as feed and post-larvae costs, will be deducted from the sales amount to ensure fewer costs incurred by the farmers. We make sure the antibiotic-free and sustainable freshwater prawns under our brand name of M’Ros are sold directly to our national consumers and businesses via our strategic partnerships with seafood retailers and exporters.

The economics of producing all-male prawns is undeniable, as shown in our findings in the table below. We compared all-male prawn farming to a mixed population resulting in a net profit increase of over 350%.

Traction
GK Aqua Is Your Preferred, Trusted Partner of Udang Galah

We have enrolled 20 farmers into our freshwater prawn joint venture program with farms ranging from medium to big scale. We guarantee the buyback of all the prawns for our joint venture farms to ensure price stability. We have also diversified our farmer pool to marine farmers, where there have been successful results in growing freshwater prawns in water with a salinity of 10 PPT.

Working Together With State Governments to Launch Udang Galah Initiatives

We have been working closely with the state government to develop Negeri Sembilan into a recognized “prawn valley” and create more entrepreneurship opportunities for Malaysians.

Increasing International Demand for GK Aqua Prawns

Since August 2021, we were the first company to ship over 200,000 PL overseas to Mauritius and Cairo. Being the pioneer, we have established ourselves as the thought leader and aided in developing shipping regulations for freshwater prawn PL in Malaysia. We have even garnered interest from international players to develop facilities in those countries.  

RM4.6 Million Awarded In Grants From Government Agencies 

Up to date, we have been awarded grants of up to RM4.6 million from government organizations such as PlatCOM, SME Corp, and Cradle. The grants were to strengthen our biotechnology research as well as aiding in digitizing farms. In addition, we have recently entered into a competition for the world economic forum for integrating freshwater prawn farming with paddy fields.

Award-Winning Technology By International And National Corporations. 

We were awarded Top 100 World Community Solutions, Top best 3 Projects in the Newton-Ungku Fund, and Top 6 finalists in PUMM Malaysian Entrepreneur 2018. Our project for freshwater prawn feed with black soldier fly has also earned the best disruptive project award from HRH Prince Andrew, Duke of York. We continuously strive to develop our research and product to provide economic development for our nation.

 

Market

Local Market: 3000 Metric Tons of Freshwater Prawns Consumed with 90% of which are imported

Global market: USD$ 7 billion Freshwater Prawns Consumption  

 

The market for freshwater prawns is dramatically increasing due to the large global demand and with our technology, we can decrease the need for imports and fill in the gap for local demand. We have also recently started exporting our PL to Cairo and Dubai to work with the local farmers in those regions to cater to their market demand there.

We have been approached by large players such as China and Singapore in order to set up facilities in their regions. However, to stay true to our vision and mission, we have focused on our production in Malaysia to cement Malaysia’s position as the country of origin for freshwater prawns.

Business Model

GK Aqua monetizes through selling the fry and the fully grown male prawns in our B2B and B2C model. Our B2B model is when we sell our fry to our contract farmers for a 50-60% net profit at 10 cents a fry and our partnered farmers will nurture the fry into full-sized male freshwater prawns in 120 days.

After the fry has been fully cultivated into full-grown male adults we buy back the prawns at a predetermined price and supply the prawns in a B2C model under our brand name “M’Ros”. We charge RM43.00 for our Colossal (XXL) prawns and RM39.00 for our Jumbo(XL) prawns.  Our customers can then enjoy live freshwater prawns delivered straight to their doorstep.

Mitigating Foreseeable Risks

We strive to mitigate the keyman risk by grooming the middle management with SOP. Besides, we have registered intellectual property (IP) for our M’Ros brand.

Our Future Plan
Establish Traceability in the M’Ros Freshwater Prawns 

We have established a circular system to produce feed for the freshwater prawns by cultivating black soldier fly maggots. In our pilot project, we have planted Moringa and Sesbania and used their biomass as insect feed for the black soldier fly maggots, which would be fed directly to the freshwater prawns. Once it has been established, we can ensure traceability of our freshwater prawns through this circular economy and develop sustainable farming methods where consumers understand the origins of feed for the freshwater prawns. All of these best practices will elevate Malaysian Giant prawn into the Appellation process to grant International Brand.

Kickstarting Pilot Projects for Integration of Udang Galah and Paddy - UGADY

We have kickstarted a pilot project in Teluk Intan to integrate paid field growing and freshwater prawns (“UGADY”). Inspired by case studies established in Vietnam, we have managed to secure a paddy field with our contract farmer to launch this integration project. This pioneering project on such a large scale in Malaysia has even caught the attention of the Minister of Agriculture, Ronald Kiandee.

 

Expanding Towards the International Market

We plan to increase our capacity by 10 times the amount to meet international demand for our freshwater prawns. We are currently setting up a transit center in Dubai to centralize the shipment of our broodstock overseas to allow our shipments to have a further reach and ensure high scalability. We aim to ship our products to West and North African countries and northern gulf countries such as Egypt.

Branding and Filing for GI Certification for Freshwater Prawns 

We aim to make Malaysia internationally known as the country of origin for freshwater prawns and are currently in the midst of the application for a GI certificate of origin for our freshwater prawns. We are also sequencing the complex genome of the freshwater prawns and crop black soldier fly-based feed in Australia to track disease-resistant traits to ensure the reliability of our product to provide disease mitigation.

Digitizing Freshwater Prawns to Ensure Efficiency and Transparency 

We are developing IoT and Blockchain integration into our supply chain to maintain transparency between farmers and ourselves. We plan to utilize the digitization of farms to build up a decision-making support system to remote control farms in terms of feeding, count, and disease. We would also advise farmers on issues such as water quality remotely to reduce the need to travel for consultations. This back end will serve as inventory with future M’Ros App to serve the seafood retailers with our contract farmers directly.

Competition

Our competitors in the shrimp market are global brands such as CP. However, these industry peers still face ongoing issues with traditional prawn farming methodologies where there is no guarantee of yield, disease, and prawn harvesting uniformity. Our cutting-edge biotechnology will give us an unfair advantage over these competitors.

Financials  

In 2021, we have managed to expand our operations and include exports to Dubai and Egypt. As we continue to grow, we aspire to go international to South African countries and northern gulf countries such as Egypt.

  2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026
No. of JV Farmers 20 50 100 150 200 250
No. of PL Supply per Year 20 Million 50 Million 100 Million 150 Million 200 Million 250 Million
Revenue RM 2,000,000 RM 5,000,000 RM 10,000,000 RM 15,000,000 RM 20,000,000 RM 25,000,000
Profits for PL RM 800,000 RM 2,000,000 RM 4,000,000 RM 6,000,000 RM 8,000,000 RM 10,000,000
Total Prawn (MT) 260 650 1300 1950 2600 3250
Profit from buyback (RM5/KG) - RM 3,250,000 RM 6,500,000 RM 9,750,000 RM 13,000,000 RM16,250,000
Total profit RM 800,000 RM 5,250,000 RM 10,500,000 RM 15,750,000 RM 21,000,000 RM 26,250,000
Team
Giva Kuppusamy

CEO

With a degree in biotechnology and an MSc in aquaculture, Giva has 15 years of experience in biotech research and business development focusing on molecular biotechnology,  animal nutrition. He was also a Visiting Fellow at the University of Georgia and sat on the Industry Advisory Panel for UCSI.

Nicholas


COO

With a Degree in Chem Eng. of University Malaya, he has been in the oil and gas business for the last 15 years, involved in setting up business operations in East Malaysia, SEA, and the Middle East

Mia Idorman

CSO

with a Degree in Structural Engineering from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA. He has been in the oil and gas business for the last 20 years.

Steven

CMO

Holding a Law Degree from the University of London and an MBA from Heriot-Watt University. He specializes in the corporate field and has over 15 years of experience in Aquaculture Business Development and Marketing. He currently sits as a non-executive director in Ekovest Berhad.

Funding

With additional funding, we will be able to expand our hatchery’s capacity by 10 times to 240 million postlarvae per annum and our operations for contract farming of 1000 acres to produce about 3000 MT of freshwater prawns in order to meet international demand.

We are looking to raise a minimum of 3 Million at a 6.25% dilution and a maximum of RM8 Million for a 15.09% dilution with a pre-money valuation of RM45 Million. Join our journey with a purchase of our minimum investment block of RM 2,520.

Our funds will be utilized in the following manner:

20% in R&D

30% in Human Resources

50% Expansion of Hatchery & M’Ros Marketing for buy-back

Additional Investment Incentive

 

 

 

 

 


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