Disclosure: The GROW Impact Accelerator is backed by AgFunder, AFN’s parent company.
Vietnam’s Tepbac is one of the 10 startups selected for the GROW Impact Accelerator 2022: the unique acceleration program run by AgFunder and GROW.
Most shrimp and fish farms in Southeast Asia are smallholder or mid-sized operations which have historically lacked access to technologies that can help them vastly improve their efficiency and productivity.
Tepbac is using the magic of software and IoT to bring the benefits of technological innovation to Southeast Asia’s fish farmers; read on to find out more from co-founder and chief business development officer Lam Nguyen (LN).
AFN: What problem is Tepbac trying to solve, and how does your technology offer a solution?
LN: Tepbac has provided a comprehensive suite of software and IoT devices to optimise aquaculture industry value chains and help shrimp farmers do their aquaculture in a more sustainable way.
Struggles in shrimp and fish farm management include cost estimation, warehouse management, and yield estimation from the manual nature of production. Farmers also can’t find enough employees working in the field.
We provide an automation platform, Farmext, and IoT devices to help the farmer easily manage their farm remotely and more effectively with less labor.
[Another challenge is] expensive input material from local suppliers, without much of a selection. We provide an e-commerce platform to help the shrimp farmers directly connect with input material suppliers and help them save 20% to 30% on input materials.
AFN: What gives Tepbac its competitive edge and differentiates it from others trying to solve the same problem?
LN: We own patents on IoT devices that can ensure the automation of shrimp farm management. Thanks to our R&D results, our IoT products are much cheaper than others and help us more easily to approach shrimp farmers with reasonable prices.
AFN: Could you share any data, case studies, or figures to illustrate the impact that your technologies and solutions can create?
JG: Mr Hau in Can Gio, Ho Chi Minh City Municipality, faced a big challenge in managing his farm at night and managing his farm warehouse and input costs. This put his business in a critical situation several times, along with a dissolved oxygen shortage at night time. Through tepbac.com, our aquaculture content site, he contacted us to provide him with a solution to solve his problem. Using our Farmext platform and IoT device, he can remotely manage his farm at home, reduce the number of employees, and doesn’t need to worry anymore about the shortage of dissolved oxygen at night. And on top of that, our solution helped him to set the right feeding program to save costs and prevent water pollution due to overfeeding.
AFN: What would you say has been the single biggest challenge and the single biggest success for Tepbac so far?
LN: IoT device development is the biggest challenge. We failed several times on it and it took us more than four years to complete it.
We’re recognized nationwide as the champion of Startup Viet in 2020 and have built a very good reputation in the Vietnam aquaculture industry from smallholder shrimp farmers, big farms, shrimp processing plants, and the Vietnamese government.
AFN: What does ‘impact’ mean to you personally and to your organization? Why is environmental and social impact so important?
JG: ‘Impact’ means having strong effects on something or someone. We bring profit and added value to shrimp farmers and make an impact by helping them grow their aquaculture business in a more sustainable way. Social impact is surely important for every business. Positive social impact will push the growth of a company, and vice versa. Environmental impact is important for all of us as human beings. No-one will use your products if they know that your product brings a negative impact to their living environment.
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