As the Bangalore-based company reports rapid growth spurred by the coronavirus pandemic, FreshToHome, an Indian e-commerce startup that sells fresh vegetables, fish , chicken and other types of meat, has raised $121 million in a new funding round.
Shan Kadavil, co-founder and chief executive of FreshToHome, said in an interview with TechCrunch that the company, which offers its service in several major Indian cities, including Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Pune and Bangalore carries in a month nearly 1.5 million orders, which has increased up from 420,000 monthly orders last year.
As people become wary about stepping outside their homes and standing in queues in front of vegetable shops to minimise their exposure to the coronavirus, the increasing popularity of FreshToHome, which aims to "Uber-ize farmers and fishermen" for commodity trade, comes. FreshToHome delivers vegetables and meats "100 percent fresh and 0 percent chemical" directly to the homes of customers without touching.
On the website, farmers and fishermen bid electronically for their current yields (as required by local laws). This allows them to cut the intermediaries, which allows them and FreshToHome to take greater control over the quality of the goods and lower the prices. (Much of India's vegetable and meat sales are still unorganised.) The start-up has also set up its own supply chain network and transports goods by trains and aircraft.
The start-up's latest funding round, Series C, was led by Dubai Investment Corporation (the Dubai government's main investment arm), Investcorp, Ascent Capital, the Development Finance Institution of the U.S. government (DFC) and the Allana Group. As far as Series C funding rounds for consumer-focused startups go, FreshToHome's $121 million round for an Indian startup is the largest to date. This is also the first time an equity interest in an Indian startup has been acquired by DFC.
"Khalifa Al Daboos, deputy CEO of the Investment Corporation of Dubai, said in a statement," FreshToHome is a pioneer in leveraging AI-based technology and business innovation to offer a superior value proposition to customers and suppliers in a broad and relevant market.
The start-up, currently clocking $85 million in annual recurring sales, aims to reach $200 million by 2021. Kadavil said FreshToHome in many mature cities has become profitable for EBIDTA (it generates a profit if you deduct interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation costs) and will now extend to more geographies. It is already operating in the UAE, and is preparing to extend to Saudi Arabia. Inside India, it also plans to expand and become operational in Kolkata.