Home gardening and houseplant start-up Ugaoo has raised Rs 15 crore in its pre-Series A funding round led by DSG Consumer Partners and RPG Ventures, the venture capital arm of businessman Harsh Goenka-led RPG group.
The Pune based startup, owned and operated by Ugaoo Agritech Pvt Ltd, aims to invest heavily in regional expansion, product enhancement and building its team.
“We plan to utilize the funds to expand our regional presence with hubs and garden centers in Bangalore, Delhi, Kolkata and collaborate with international plant companies to introduce a wider range of exotic plants and premium plant care products to the Indian market,” said Siddhant Bhalinge, Founder of Ugaoo.
In the last six years, Ugaoo has fulfilled more than a million orders and we aim to produce at least 500k plants a month by end of next year, he adds.
The online gardening portal offers gardening and plant care products including live indoor plants, planters and kitchen garden seeds, through its website as well as marketplaces such as Amazon and Flipkart. It has also built two experience stores in Pune that focuses on inspiring people to bring nature inside their homes and aesthetically setting up for better mental health and aspirational quality of life.
Maharashtra-based Ugaoo was founded in 2015 by Bhalinge, a landscape architect from California State Polytechnic University and he started the firm as a subsidiary of his 130-year-old family company Namdeo Umaji Agritech.
Ugaoo claims to have witnessed a growth of 120% year-on-year.
"The plant and home gardening industry is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 50% and reach a market size of $4 Billion by 2025 in India, thus holding great potential for growth," said Bhalinge, who hails from a family business of seeds and agriculture.
Ugaoo’s plants are grown in-house, in its state-of-the-art greenhouses with help from horticultural experts to ensure complete control of quality from planting to dispatch.
The startup addresses the challenge of avoiding damage to in-transit plants while selling online by using “innovative, jelly-filled soil mixes and re-useable sturdy packaging that can withstand a payload of 50 kg and 8-10 days in transit from nursery to destination”.
"Plant parenting is on the rise across age groups and the category has massive growth potential. The category is highly unorganized, and the offline purchase experience is subpar. Ugaoo has the potential to be the category-defining brand by solving customer pain points thoughtfully with a digital-first approach," said Hariharan Premkumar, Head of India of DSG Consumer Partners.
Singapore-based DSG Consumer Partners is an investment company focusing on identifying, investing in, and growing consumer businesses in India & Southeast Asia. Recently, the company invested $6.5 million (around Rs 48 crore) in Sleepy Owl Coffee Pvt. Ltd along with Rukam Capital.
“Verticalization of cities, a large market in home and commercial décor as well as plant gifting and the company’s deep domain knowledge prompted us to partner with Ugaoo Agritech. We also see a rising trend in plant parenting among the young adults,” said Kunjan Chikhlikar, Head of RPG Ventures.