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IAN Fund leads funding for agri-tech startup Farmers Freshzone
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Farmers Freshzone Pvt Ltd, an agricultural-technology startup focussed on providing a direct-to-consumer marketplace for farmers, has raised Rs 3.5 crore (about $476,000) in funding.

This exercise has been led by IAN Fund, an investment vehicle of the Indian Angel Network. The fund, which marked its final close in November last year with a corpus of Rs 375 crore (around $53 million), is largely sector-agnostic and has already made several investments.

With this capital infusion, Farmers Freshzone has raised more than Rs 6.5 crore across all its funding rounds. In October 2018, the startup raised an undisclosed amount from IAN, IAN Fund, Malabar Angels, and angel network NativeLead.

The Kochi-based company was founded in 2015 by Pradeep PS, and says it provides consumers with pesticide-free fruits and vegetables that are directly sourced from farmers. It says its omni-channel platform has so far connected over 1,500 farmers to customers.

It will use the capital it has raised to expand to new markets including Bengaluru, Pradeep PS said. “Our aim is to emerge as the number one player in the premium fruit and vegetable segment of South India, and we are working hard in building a strong base in the nutrition segment.”

The company says it also conducts market studies and provides farmers with alerts regarding pricing, mechanisation, domain knowledge, and insurance.

Some of the other sectors that the IAN Fund has focussed on include healthcare and medical devices, software-as-a-service (SaaS), marketplaces, financial technology, big data, and artificial intelligence.

Last month, IAN Fund led a $1.4 million (around Rs 10.3 crore) pre-Series A funding round in Phool.co, which uses floral waste to make patented organic fertiliser and incense sticks. It led the exercise along with Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, a San Francisco-based global venture philanthropy firm.

Other investments by the fund include B2B e-commerce and supply chain platform MaxWholesale, air pollution control firm Chakr, customised furniture startup WoodenStreet, waterless solar panel cleaning startup Nocca Robotics, and data analytics firm Clootrack.

Deals in agri-tech 

Several startups operating in the agri-tech space have raised funding in recent months. Earlier in September, the AI-powered fresh food aggregation platform Aibono Smart Farming Pvt. Ltd raised $2 million (around Rs 14.6 crore) from Rebright Partners, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Venture Capital and Lesing Artha, a subsidiary of Rianta Capital.

Last month, BigHaat Agro Pvt. Ltd, which operates an online agricultural inputs platform, secured more than $2 million in a pre-Series A funding round.

In June, Delhi-based Concinnity Agro2o Pvt. Ltd mobilised funding from the Mumbai Angels Network. The startup focuses on making hydroponics-based farming accessible to both small farmers and commercial institutions.

In May, poultry farming startup Eggoz raised Rs 2.5 crore from a clutch of investors including Tracxn Labs, Angellist, Tri-Deep Capital and founders of LetsTransport.

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