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Kenyan aquaculture startup – Victory Farms – raises $5 million to push its expansion across East African countries

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Victory Farms, an aquaculture startup based in Kenya, has completed its fundraising round, closing the round with $5 million.

The startup, which render aquaculture services like hatcheries, deep ponds, and water cages for tilapia fishery, said it raised the funds from Ed Brakeman, and Hans den Bieman, who led the fundraise. Brakeman is a senior managing director at Bain Capital, while Bieman is the founder and ex-CEO of Mowi, one of the largest salmon businesses globally.

According to Victory Farms, the funds raised will be used to push for the startup’s expansion into other African countries like Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Tanzania.

Victory Farms was founded in 2015 by Joseph Rehmann. Rehmann started the startup after spending three years at an aquaculture project in Accra, Ghana. In the same year, Rehmann collaborated with business accomplice, Steve Moran, to begin the groundwork for starting Victory Farms, with the aim of disrupting Kenya’s chain market, using technology.

After making promising discoveries from their feasibility study, both Rehmann and Moran decided to start Victory Farms, and they succeeded in raising funds to push their official launch in 2016.

“I learnt a lot about aquaculture scaling and all that. I believed the platform I was running could be a lot bigger and scale a lot faster if we could connect more dots — and basically creating an end to end protein plant,” Rehmann said.

We run a tech-enabled platform and have scaled 2x faster than any other African fish company. And using data, we have built the most efficient operation globally at half the capex of current global leader. […] We sell to mass market Africans via a high innovative RTM cold chain which uses predictive data to push fish to thousands of market ladies every day all across Kenya with less than 1% spoilage,” Rehmann added.

Victory Farms claim it has 54 retail locations around Kenya, where over 15,000 women shop for fish.

Victory Farms prides itself as having the highest margin structures in the fishing industry globally due to its technology. The startup said it has recorded a 130% CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) between 2017 to 2021.

Rehmann said that Victory Farms does not have any real competition in Kenya or the greater East African region. He however, added that on the global scale, Regal Springs – the Zurich-based company in the same business – is Victory Farm’s competition.

We’re developing so quickly in comparison to them (the competition) that we don’t perceive this as a competitive environment. Hunger and the lack of a cheap protein choice for consumers are the true competitors for us,” he said.

Read also: Kenyan-based Bamba raises $3.2 million to further develop its infrastructure

Rehmann stated that if Victory Farms’ growth plan goes as planned, it would surpass Regal Springs in the next five years to become the largest end-to-end tilapia platform in the world. While Victory Farm is working towards profit and expansion, Rehmann said it important to note that the company is trying to become the world’s most sustainable tilapia platform.

We’re working on a number of projects, including the world’s first carbon-negative fish platform.” And I believe it’s incredibly exciting because the business has a lot of tangible and measurable dimensions to do it,” the CEO said.

According to Crunchbase, Victory Farms has raised a total of $8 million, including $2 million dept financing in 2021, and $1 million in 2020.

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