The startup’s technology platform powers farm discovery, produce quality profiling, market intelligence to smart matchmaking between farm-level inventory and customer requirements
Bengaluru: Vegrow, a business-to-business (B2B) agritech platform for fruits and vegetables, on Tuesday said it has raised $13 million in a series A investment round co-led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and Elevation Capital.
The round also saw participation from existing investors Matrix Partners India, Ankur Capital, Better Capital and Titan Capital.
Founded in 2020 by IIT alumni Praneeth Kumar, Shobhit Jain, Mrudhukar Batchu and Kiran Naik, Vegrow has presence in over 30 cities. The startup’s technology platform powers farm discovery, produce quality profiling, market intelligence to smart matchmaking between farm-level inventory and customer requirements.
While India’s B2B agrimarket is attractive, it is also a complex maze of fragmented supply with over 120 million farmers growing across 30 states, Vegrow said.
It intends to unlock the power of the agri value chain, initially focusing on the $50 billion fruits and high-value vegetables segment. The company addresses challenges around farmland under-utilization and supply fragmentation for farmers and delivers consistent quality along with fill rate to customers.
“At Vegrow, we focus on select products as compared to building a large basket. Each of these products is a multi-billion dollars’ opportunity. This enables us to go deep in the product value chain and unlock massive growth in this sector. In fact, we have become one of the largest companies for pomegranates in the country in less than a year. We are excited to expand to 100 cities, invest in technology and launch new products with this fund raise," the company said in a statement.
“Agriculture as a sector has largely remained removed from digital disruptions, despite the strong tailwinds of increasing internet penetration and adoption. We believe any effort to digitize these value chains will have to keep farmers and their interests at the core. Vegrow's farm-centred approach, coupled with strong insights, which are allowing the team to fundamentally re-imagine and augment these supply chains, stood out in our interactions. Super thrilled to be a part of this mission-driven team as they create access and value for millions of farmers," said Akarsh Shrivastava, vice-president, Elevation Capital.
Vaibhav Agrawal, partner, Lightspeed, added, “Having invested in commerce companies like Pinduoduo, OYO and Zetwerk we have realized that the number one pressing need of the small supplier, a farmer in this case, is higher revenue realization. It’s not accessing inputs, credit or crop advisory. Therefore, we believe companies building marketplaces between farmers and buyers, using technology to eliminate inefficiencies will have the largest market opportunity eventually. Additionally, many marketplaces have scaled up on negative unit margins in this category, so we were really impressed by the growth - and - positive unit margin Vegrow has demonstrated using its technology-oriented approach to standardize quality, minimize inventory and retain farmers."
Ritu Verma, partner, Ankur Capital, said, “While Indian consumers and businesses have seen tremendous changes in the past 10 years through several waves of innovation, the reality is our fruits and vegetables are grown by independent farmers in a nearly identical manner, and with dwindling yields. Vegrow's tech-enabled processes allow the company to grow their margins while also driving value to the farmers they work with."
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