Mumbai-based agri-business startup Krishi Star has raised an undisclosed amount in seed funding from a consortium of four investors led by Upaya Social Ventures and Artha Venture Challenge, along with 1to4 Foundation and an angel investor.
The company, which collaborates with small farmers by branding and selling their products through a farmer-owned supply chain, will use the funding for expanding its marketing and sales capabilities, capacity and supply chain, Bryan Lee, CEO, Krishi Star told VCCircle.
Founded in 2014, Krishi Star works with producer companies, which are wholly owned by farmers and are very similar to cooperatives in that they help small farmers achieve economies of scale by engaging in a variety of activities from marketing to input-sourcing. The company works with around 5000 farmers and source products from farmer-owned factories. It has, so far, developed a product portfolio including tomato puree, whole-peeled tomatoes, and sun-dried tomatoes while more products are in the pipeline.
The company is selling its products in Mumbai and Pune to hotels, restaurants, and catering groups. “We do ship our products to Delhi, Kolkata, and Bangalore but those are in very small quantities,” Lee added. “By coordinating farmer-owned units under a unified brand, Krishi aims to grow per farmer income by 200%.”
The company said the investment came at a crucial time for it as it was transitioning its operations from niche and local to more widespread geographies and markets.
It is the 10th equity investment made by Upaya in India since 2011.
“Half of the Indian population is involved in some way in agriculture. This is an important sector for Upaya to be part of. We see great potential in the work Bryan and his team is doing to improve the lives of Indian farmers and their families,” said Upaya CEO Kate Cochran.
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