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Fasal forays into farm output business, in talks to raise funds

According to founder Shailendra Tiwari, Omnivore-backed Fasal is in talks to raise a new round of funding to support its output business foray, amid an impending funding winter

February 28, 2023 / 09:08 AM IST
Image Credits - Fasal Fresh

Image Credits - Fasal Fresh

Precision farming-based agritech startup Fasal has entered the farming output business under the brand, Fasal Fresh, at a time when agritech startups record growth on the back of rising demand for quality food, supported by macro tailwinds like climate change and food security concerns.

Fasal Fresh, which has been in the works since last year, is a B2B (business-to-business) brand that will bring the produce grown through precision farming to consumers through retailers, e-commerce players, wholesalers, and exporters, the company said on February 28.

“We will have lesser wastage because we are directly harvesting from the farm based on demand from such players, not harvesting and then finding a customer for that produce,” Fasal founder, Shailendra Tiwari told Moneycontrol on a virtual interaction.

Fasal said this move will also help the agritech player remove intermediaries in the sales process of agricultural commodities, reducing touch points for the produce, ensuring fairer prices for the farmers, and making procurement easy for the buyers.

Fasal Fresh is now operational in Delhi, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad with its Mumbai operations planned for March this year, the company said.

This comes after a year when private equity and venture capital investors shifted focus towards profitability, biggies in sectors like edtech, e-commerce, and fintech – the poster boys of 2021 startup bash, had to take a step back to re-evaluate their strategies and align themselves to the fundamentals.

For the agritech ecosystem that witnessed valuations shooting up and continued funding with unwavering investor interest, there seems to be no end to the party.

Fundraising plans

According to Tiwari, Omnivore-backed Fasal is also in talks to raise a new round of funding to support its output business foray, amid an impending funding winter.

“We definitely require capital because this (the foray) is rather transformational. We are in process of raising money and it is fair to say, one more round of capital will take us to the next phase,” Tiwari told Moneycontrol, without disclosing further details on the round.

Earlier in November 2021, the company had raised $4 million in a pre-Series A round led by 3one4 Capital with participation from existing investors Omnivore and Wavemaker Partners.

Other investors in this round include Genting Ventures (Malaysia), The Yield Lab Asia-Pacific, Antares Investments, and Sandeep Singhal of Nexus.

Founded in 2018 by  Tiwari and Ananda Verma, Fasal works towards making horticulture farming guesswork-free with irrigation alerts, farm-level forecasts, and pest and disease forewarnings, through its patented IoT (Internet of Things) system called Kranti. Today, Fasal works with Indian farmers over 60,000 acres across more than 20 crops, who are leveraging this technology, it said.

Tiwari believes Fasal Fresh differentiates itself from other players as it sells produce, grown on farmlands that use Fasal's precision agriculture tech. “What is coming out from here is grown sustainability. You could potentially look at us as an integrated player, we won't sell off random produce bought from anywhere to anybody,” he said.

Fasal also plans to launch its input business soon to provide full-stack services to its farmers.

Tiwari said the company largely deals in high-value, high-risk, high-reward crops, at the moment.

“This includes things that we consume on a daily basis and pay at least Rs 100 per kg for them. For example, apples from Shimla, grapes from Nasik, chili and capsicums from southern MP, and so on. In this way, wherever these crops have supply clusters, we are working there,” he said.

According to Fasal, Manoj Kumar, a horticulture supply chain expert, has joined the company as director of Fasal Fresh to drive the business vertical.

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Mansi Verma
Mansi Verma
first published: Feb 28, 2023 09:08 am