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Brief: Indian farmer-to-business platform WayCool bags $117m to build agrifoodtech conglomerate

January 17, 2022

  • WayCool Foods, a startup which helps farmers sell their produce to enterprise customers online, has raised $117 million in Series D funding.
  • New and existing investors including LightRock, LightBox, Lightsmith, Redwood Equity Partners, Gawa Capital, the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation, and Dutch development bank FMO participated in the round, which involved both equity and debt financing.
  • The Chennai-based startup said it will use the funds to boost its “deeptech” and automation capabilities.

Why it matters:

WayCool will also use the Series D capital to diversify into adjacent verticals, according to co-founder and CEO Karthik Jayaraman.

“We will be investing to create a keiretsu of businesses, who bring complementary capabilities and are aligned to our purpose,” he told The Hindu, using the Japanese term for the large conglomerates associated with that country’s economy.

Potential areas for expansion include its existing line of private label products, as well as alt-protein. “The advantage we have is access to the raw materials,” Jayaraman said in an interview with The Economic Times. “We will look at a range of value-added products, including alternative meats and other such categories.”

Founded in 2015, WayCool now works directly with 3,500 farmers across South India to trade around 320 varieties of fruit, vegetable, dairy, and other produce. It works indirectly with another 85,000 farmers through its partnerships with cooperatives.

It was one of India’s top-funded startups in the Midstream Technologies category last year, raising $20.6 million in Series C funding according to AgFunder research [disclosure: AgFunder is AFN‘s parent company.]

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