Chennai-based Waycool Foods and Products Pvt. Ltd, which operates omni-channel fresh produce distribution platform Waycool.in, has raised $2.7 million (Rs 17.5 crore) from impact investor Aspada Investment Company.
Waycool, which operates predominantly in Tamil Nadu via a distribution hub in Chennai, will use the capital to expand to Bangalore and Hyderabad as well as to enhance its technology infrastructure, it said in a statement.
Waycool sources fruits and vegetables from small farmers and aggregators and sells through multiple distribution channels including local shops, retail outlets, hotels, restaurants and catering establishments.
“India is the second-largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world, and presents a significant opportunity for private players to profitably organize perishable produce value chains. Our partnership with Aspada will allow us to leverage not only their cumulative expertise in India’s horticulture value chains, but also their sizable portfolio of fresh produce companies,” said Karthik Jayaraman, co-founder and CEO of Waycool.
WayCool was founded by Jayaraman along with Sanjay Dasari, Vignesh Kumar Manogaran and Sendhil Kumar Natarajan in 2015. The company sells its products under the brand name SunnyBee.
Aspada has invested in a number of fresh produce value chain companies focused on fruits and vegetables such as LEAF, InI Farms, AllFresh, and SV Agri. “We believe that a distribution-focused player such as Waycool which leverages technology to drive down overall cost-to-serve in the agricultural value chain makes for a logical addition to our portfolio,” said Kushal Agrawal, chief financial officer, Aspada.
The long-neglected agricultural technology segment is one of the key interests of venture capital funds today. In February, Delhi-based startup Paalak.in raised funding from a clutch of angel investors. International Finance Corporation planned to make a debt investment of $30 million in ETC Agro Processing (India) Pvt Ltd.
In another major deal in the sector, Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd, the country’s largest micro-irrigation firm, acquired Australian agri-tech firm Observant Pty Ltd this February, marking its fourth reported acquisition in the overseas market.
Ooty-based Lawrencedale Agro Processing India Pvt. Ltd, which supplies farm-fresh vegetables to organised retailers in South India under the brand Leaf, raised an undisclosed amount in fresh funding from Denmark-based BESTSELLER FOUNDATION and US-based venture capital fund Unitus Impact in September last year.
Earlier, Delhi-based RP2 Ventures Pvt. Ltd, which runs fresh fruit and vegetable supply chain venture Lemon Leaf, raised its first external funding from two angel investors in July 2016.
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