P. Vijayaraghavan started Lawrencedale Agro Processing (India) Pvt Ltd in 2009 as an agro-processing company. Since then the company has evolved into a branded farm produce unit. One of the first few to package vegetables and fruits and serve it to the consumers under the brand name LEAF, the company is now looking beyond the southern states.
“In 2011 when we introduced branded products in the agri-space, the biggest challenge was that consumers saw this kind of packaging for the first time. But with promotional campaigns and through the media we have been able to change consumer behaviour, so much so that now they start looking for more products that are branded,” says Vijayaraghavan.
In a discussion with VCCircle he not only talks about the challenges in the space, but says he plans to increase production capacity from 30-35 tonnes to 50 tonnes by the end of this year and to 250-300 tonnes by 2018-19. The agri-produce firm aspires to become a Rs 500-crore enterprise, and he believes that the back-end infrastructure is in place to scale operations in the next three years.
He says that the company will not only try to expand its reach to more Tier I and Tier II cities in the six southern states, but will also be looking at entering Mumbai and Pune markets by the end of this fiscal.
Vijayaraghavan, who got funding from George Soros-backed investment firm Aspada Investment, also discusses the company’s plans to raise $10 million.
“We have been in discussion with quite a few funds and most of them are showing interest in us. It is about finding the right alliance with people who understand the space. We believe we may be able to do this in the coming quarter,” he says.