Dagrowave Agscience, which operates online fresh produce distribution platform Agrowave, has raised $500,000 (Rs 3.7 crore) from US based angel investor Sekhar Puli, in a fresh funding round, dubbed a pre-Series A round.
Puli is co-founder of Rean Cloud, a Herndon, Virginia-based cloud systems integrator that was acquired in 2018 by Hitachi Vantara, the Silicon Valley subsidiary of Japanese technology conglomerate Hitachi.
The Gurugram-based startup last raised capital in 2017 from mobile app and cloud solutions firm Daffodil Software.
The fresh capital will be used to build a farm-to-business mobility supply chain through an integrated network of mobile pickup stations (MPS), Anu Meena, founder and CEO of Agrowave, told TechCircle. The MPS model, she said, can cut procurement cost by up to 10%.
The company’s internal technology system will also enable the route mapping of MPS, collection centres and warehouses, as well as big data intelligence-based supply-demand mapping.
“Our MPS procurement model helps us build trust with small and medium farmers in rural areas. It helps them to sell produce easily in their own village on fingertips through our mobile app. We are more focused on building the backend supply chain rather than just building demand,” Meena said.
The capital will also be deployed to develop a big data and AI-based price prediction model at the supply side to eliminate price negotiations and reduce revenue leakage, she said.
“Agrowave has built a farmer-to-mandi and mandi-to-customer model, which is unique in many ways. There is end-to-end traceability of the product with quality control and little loss in storage and transportation,” Hemendra Mathur, venture partner at Bharat Innovation Fund, said. An Agrowave mentor, Mathur is the co-founder of ThinkAg, a platform that aids innovation in agriculture and food sectors.
Additionally, Meena said the startup looks to scale its presence in the Delhi-NCR regions in the next two years.
Founded in 2017, Agrowave procures fruits and vegetables from farmers in Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, and supplies them to small markets and businesses such as hotels, retailers, restaurants and PGs in Delhi-NCR. The company looks to do away with market sales soon and focus on its farm-to-business model, The IIT-Delhi alumna said.
The company offers separate apps for businesses and farmers. The business app allows organisations to buy fresh produce in bulk and pay online, while the farmer app allows them to schedule supply from their farms, and publish information such as commodity, volume, expected price, location and transportation requirements. The platform currently works with over 3,500 farmers.
Agrowave, which briefly forayed into the B2C segment during the lockdown, has nearly recovered its revenue to pre-Covid levels, Meena said.