Aspada Investment Company has invested $2.7 million in Chennai-based fresh produce value chain Waycool Foods and Products Private Limited. The startup will utilise the money to extend reach to other major cities like Bengaluru and Hyderabad, build a technology platform to reduce inefficiencies in the supply chain, and augment the company’s existing infrastructure.
Waycool is a fresh produce distribution company that sources fruits and vegetables from small-hold farmers and aggregators, and sells through multiple distribution channels spanning small local shops, modern retail outlets, and HORECA (hotels, restaurants, and catering establishments). Waycool currently operates predominantly in Tamil Nadu via a distribution hub in Chennai. The company claimed to have employed a hybrid model of working with produce-specific value chain companies as well as directly sourcing from small-hold farmers.
Karthik Jayaraman, Co-Founder and CEO, Waycool, said,
“India is the second-largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world, and presents a significant opportunity for private players to profitably organise perishable produce value chains. Our partnership with Aspada will allow us to leverage not only their cumulative expertise in India’s horticulture value chains, but also their sizeable portfolio of fresh produce companies.”
Aspada has a list of portfolios on fresh produce value chain companies focused on specific fruits and vegetables, such as LEAF (carrots and other exotic vegetables), InI Farms (pomegranates, bananas, and pineapples), AllFresh (apples and citrus fruits), and SV Agri (potatoes).
Kushal Agrawal, Chief Financial Officer, Aspada, said, “Structural challenges in India’s fresh produce supply chain, comprised of multiple intermediaries, leads to significant wastage (30 percent by volume), lower prices for farmers, and poor quality produce at a high relative price. As a sophisticated post-harvest supply chain firm, Waycool will address these challenges through disintermediation and careful produce handling, thereby catering to a rapidly growing urban middle class that increasingly demands safe, high-quality, and traceable fresh fruits and vegetables.”
Aspada Investment Company has portfolio companies spanning agricultural supply chains, logistics, financial services, education, healthcare, and technology. Aspada also manages the portfolio of SONG, an early-stage venture capital fund backed by the Soros Economic Development Fund (SEDF), Omidyar Network, and Google.
Website: Waycool Foods