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Varaha, three others raise early-stage funding

By K Amoghavarsha

  • 22 Feb 2024
Varaha, three others raise early-stage funding
(R-L): Madhur Jain, co-founder and CEO; Ankita Garg, co-founder and COO and Vishal Kuchanur, co-founder and CTO, Varaha

Climatetech startup Varaha, foodtech platform Ghost Kitchens India, artificial intelligence (AI) startup Kusho and agri-produce manufacturer Indic Wisdom raised early-stage funding, the companies said on Thursday. 

Varaha, a platform for generating carbon credits in the agriculture space has raised $8.7 million (Rs 72 crore) in a Series A funding round, led by RTP Global.

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The round also saw participation from existing investors Omnivore and Orios Venture Partners along with new investors Norinchukin Bank, AgFunder and Octave Wellbeing Economy Fund, the investment arm of IMC Pan Asia Alliance Group. 

The startup will use the funding to improve its technology and science capabilities and expand its operations to new geographies in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Founded in 2022 by Madhur Jain, Ankita Garg and Vishal Kuchanur, Varaha provides ways for smallholder farmers to generate carbon credits via nature-based solutions that are based on advanced remote sensing analytics, machine learning and biomass/soil modeling.

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It is present across eight states in India and is also present in Bangladesh, Nepal and Kenya.

In 2022, the startup raised $4 million in a seed funding round led by Orios Venture Partners. 

Omnivore, RTP Global, Better Capital and angel investors, including Kunal Shah, also participated in the round.

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Ghost Kitchens India has secured $5 million (Rs 42 crore) in a Series A funding round. The round - a mix of equity and debt infusion - was led by GVFL Ltd and saw participation from NB Ventures, LetsVenture, Lead Angels and actor-producer Rana Daggubati along with existing investors Yuj Ventures, Dholakia Ventures.

However, the exact split of the equity and debt investment was not disclosed.

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The funds raised by Ghost Kitchens from this round will be utilised to scale business operations and enter into retail stores of its existing brands. It will also use the funding to upgrade the partner programme and increase the footprint of company-owned and operated cloud kitchens and QSR stores.

Founded in 2019, Ghost Kitchens India helps restaurants and cloud kitchens earn incremental revenue without any investment. Its platform powers aggregator management, marketing to generate more food delivery orders and inventory management and supply of ready food solutions which reduces their dependency on skilled manpower for maintaining standardisation.   

It operates through 15 company-owned and operated cloud kitchens in Mumbai and Ahmedabad and 1,200 internet restaurants across 40 cities in India.

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Kusho has raised $600,000 (Rs 5 crore) in a pre-seed funding round, led by early-stage investor Antler. The round also saw participation from Blume Founders Fund, UpSparks Capital and angel investors Mohit Kumar, Vatsal Singhal (Ultrahuman) and Ashok Hariharan (IDfy), among others.

Founded by BITS Pilani alumni Abhishek Saikia and Sourabh Gawande, Kusho uses its own models coupled with foundational large language models (LLMs) to simulate an AI software developer that can discover bugs in code with greater accuracy and in lesser time compared to a human.

“Unreliable software is estimated to cost businesses $2.4 trillion in the US alone. We allow software developers to focus on building and shipping great software without having to worry about unnoticed bugs thus enhancing overall codebase quality and making releases stable and error-free,” said Saikia, co-founder and chief executive officer, Kusho.

Indic Wisdom, an agri-produce startup has raised $482,448 (Rs 4 crore) in a pre-Series A funding round, led by Inflection Point Ventures. The round also saw participation from Mahendra Sankhe, Launch Capital, Bifco Finance and undisclosed high-net-worth individuals (HNIs).  

The funds will be utilised to improve the brand’s visibility, expand its distribution network and build production capacity, according to its statement.  

Indic Wisdom is a Mumbai-based manufacturer of food staples, with a core focus on wood-pressed oils. 

“At Indic Wisdom, we aim to use ancient food production practices and infuse them with modern production practices and quality standards. Our wood-pressed oil extraction plant is a zero-waste manufacturing facility that has generated a monthly gross merchandise value (GMV) of Rs 2.5 crore,” said Prajakta Khare, founder and director, Indic Wisdom.

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