Agritech startup Our Food says it has raised $6 million to fund its growth needs, including increasing its manufacturing capacity and improving the agricultural food supply chain to help avert the estimated $5-billion annual post-harvest wastage in India.
The funding round was led by existing investor 3Lines Venture Capital and a new investor, C4D Asia Fund. Lalit Jalan, 3Lines India Chairman and former CEO of Reliance Infrastructure, will join the company’s board of directors, according to a press statement from the company. The company is looking to come out with an initial public offer in 2024.
The startup, which is a technology-driven agribusiness platform with low-cost and decentralised mini food-processing units, has over 1,700 rural entrepreneurs with licensed ‘Our Food Farmer’ franchises. Each of these entrepreneurs operates a regional crop-specific processing unit that procures and processes raw material from over a hundred farmers in nearby villages.
Each farmer franchisee receives an end-to-end tech-enabled solution, starting with the establishment of a single mini food processing unit, access to equipment financing, training in processing, and marketing of the processed output. The company has presence in 12 states, primarily Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Karnataka. It has processing units for over 15 kinds of crops, including pulses, cereals, spices, groundnut, and plans to add more.
It has doubled the number of its decentralised processing units over the last two years, signalling a disruptive trend in mini food processing.
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“Our Food value proposition is a triple play for the rural youth who operate franchises, for farmers who can increase their income through direct supply, and for the business buyers who can offer higher quality to their consumers,” Jalan said in the statement.
Arvind Agarwal, CEO, C4D Partners, said that Our Food has been able to scale decentralised processing of agricultural products. In-house design and manufacturing of the processing units, coupled with financing and buyback guarantee of the produce have helped it become a pan-India company.
“Majority of the value gained from pre-processing, reducing post-harvest wastage and supply chain disintermediation is shared between the franchise operator and the farmer that supplies the unprocessed harvest. To bring food processing closer to the farm is the mission Our Food team has worked tirelessly over the past five years and has fine-tuned the business model to develop innovative ideas in manufacturing, food processing operations, financing, and B2B/B2C sales,” Bala Reddy, Founder and CEO of Our Food, said.
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