Merak Ventures, a sector-agnostic early-stage venture capital (VC) firm, has invested $1.45 million (about ₹12 crore) in Farmtheory, a B2B agri-food start-up. Farmtheory helps in minimising food waste at the source, boosting farm yields and delivering quality ingredients to commercial kitchens.

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Farmtheory will use the funds to scale up its operations, mainly focusing on expanding its supply arm, enhancing its technological infrastructure, and bolstering its supply chain by reaching out to more farmers for a robust and sustainable source of produce, the company said in a statement.

Since its inception in 2019, the brand has on-boarded 3,000 partner farmers, and served over 1,500 kitchens.

“Through our platform, we empower farmers to share their harvests with the world, creating meaningful connections that sustain communities and promote environmental responsibility. We’re thrilled to welcome Merak Ventures as our partner, sharing our values and vision as we work together towards our goals,” said Arpit Agarwal, Co-founder of Farmtheory.

A sizeable portion of food supply in India remains unsold at the source due to unrealistic cosmetic standards — for instance, fruits and vegetables that outwardly look different but are perfectly edible are often discarded. Farmtheory, a Y-Combinator-backed start-up, acquires this nutritious, ‘freeform’ produce directly from farmers and supplies it to a range of buyers, from cloud kitchens and catering companies to food processors and restaurants, who can use it just like conventionally shaped produce.

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Sheetal Bahl, Partner at Merak Ventures, said “At Merak Ventures, we recognise the brilliance and audacity of Farmtheory’s team. Not only are they addressing the challenges of food waste, farmer income, and climate change — they’re reimagining solutions with the potential to transform the agri-food landscape. By coining the term ‘freeform produce’ to describe crops that are irregularly shaped or sized, Farmtheory is reframing the narrative from ‘ugly produce’ to appreciating the value of these untapped crops. Their leadership in India’s ‘freeform produce’ movement, proven successful in developed markets as the ‘ugly produce movement’, demonstrates a game-changing approach, echoing our own ethos of investing in ventures that promise not only returns but contribute towards a sustainable future.”