Online marketplace FarmersFZ (Fresh Zone), where growers sell vegetables, fruit and others directly to customers in Kochi, has raised an undisclosed amount in a seed round from Indian Angel Network, IAN fund, Malabar Angels and angel network NativeLead.
IAN’s funding was led by members Nagaraja Prakasam and PK Gopalakrishnan, said Farmers Fresh Zone Pvt. Ltd, which operates the marketplace, in a statement on Tuesday.
The startup plans to use the money raised for product development, customer acquisition and geographical expansion. This is the first round of external investment for FarmersFZ, founded in 2015 by Calicut University computer engineer Pradeep PS.
Pradeep PS said in a statement, “With the right mix of technology and enabling market access, we believe there is potential to transform the value chain of all fresh-produce crops. Through our platform, we are helping the rural farmers turn profitable and directly reach customers.”
Currently, FramersFZ says it connects more than 350 growers and close to 10,000 customers. The startup aims at launching operations in seven more cities in India in four years.
FarmersFZ said it is also working towards an algorithm to help farmers predict income and yield.
IAN member Prakasam said in a statement, “One of the main reasons agriculture is not viable for farmers is inefficient supply chain… FarmersFZ’s unique model encourages farmers to use technology to track and use best practices and rewards them with better prices while the consumer gets complete transparency and traceability, so he/she knows the farmer who is growing his/her vegetables and fruit, and probably visit the grower as well, thus creating community commerce.”
The agri-tech space is hotting up, with a number of fundraising deals.
In April this year, Chandigarh-based agri-analytics startup AgNext raised an undisclosed amount in a round led by social impact firm Omnivore.
In March, Indore-based agri-tech startup Gramophone.in raised Rs 6.4 crore (about $1 million) from Info Edge (India) Ltd.
In the same month, Bengaluru-based 63Ideas Infolabs Pvt. Ltd, which runs business-to-business agri-marketing platform Ninjacart, raised $1.1 million (Rs 7 crore then) from venture debt firm Trifecta Capital.
In February, Agricxlab, an agri-tech venture that uses smartphone imaging to assess the quality of agri-produce, raised funds worth $500,000 (Rs 3.2 crore then) in a seed round led by early-stage venture capital firm Ankur Capital.