Agri-tech startup Aibono has raised USD 2 million (about Rs 15 crore) from investors to fund expansion plan and growth of the business, its founder Vivek Rajkumar said on Friday.
The Bengaluru based firn is an end-to-end aggregator platform that connects premium perishable vegetables from farm to fork.
"We have raised a further round of USD 2 million from Japanese and Swiss investors in the midst of COVID-19 economic crisis," he told PTI.
The current capital raise is led by Japanese venture capital firms Rebright Partners and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Venture Capital based out of Tokyo and Singapore respectively; and Swiss Impact Investor Lesing Artha, a subsidiary of Rianta Capital (UK).
The company had raised a total of USD 4.5 million since inception in 2015, he added.
With the help of its AI powered full-stack farm services and demand-supply syncing technology, Aibono helps farmers from the Nilgiris and surrounding villages in Tamil Nadu to grow premium perishable vegetables and herbs with better yields. It not only supplies inputs but also gives buy-back guarantee to these farmers.
After procuring farm produce from farmers, the company sells it to retailers in Bengaluru city.
"We have on boarded 1,000 farmers on our platform. We are supplying to about 800 retailers," Rajkumar said.
The company is targeting to double the number of farmers on its platform to 2,000, he added.
"With this round of funding, we will now invest to scale capacity and increase supply to our existing Kirana businesses, expanding to institutional retail as well as making possible direct-to-home supply of super perishables via modern delivery platforms in the next phase of our growth," Rajkumar said.
Aibono leverages data science driven demand-supply synchronisation, farm analytics and "just in time engines to prevent food wastage, improve agricultural efficiency as well as stabilise livelihoods of farmers specialising in perishable vegetables.
Takeshi Ebihara, Founding General Partner of Rebright Partners said: With India's retail demand for fresh farm produce going through the roof, very few players are concentrating on solving Pain-points at the ground level, for seamless movement of perishables across the value chain."
Masataka Nakamura, Partner of Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Venture Capital said, COVID pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges to business continuity that has made the investor community seek caution and be conservative in approach to funding.
In Aibono, we see a balance of scale and profitability, with equal emphasis on farmer and retailer growth alongside a sustainable business model. "
Audrey Selian, director of Lesing Artha associated with Rianta Capital said: With this infusion of funds, agri-tech enablers like Aibono with experience in JIT harvest and demand-supply synchronisation will make significant social impact for farmers possible.
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