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Exclusive: Agritech startup WayCool in talks to raise $10 Mn from LightBox


Agritech startup WayCool is in talks to raise $10 million in a round led by LightBox Ventures, according to two people familiar with the matter. If this round goes through, it will mark WayCool’s third funding round this year. 

Founded in 2015 by Karthik Jayaraman and Sanjay Dasari, WayCool is a business-to-business startup that connects farmers and food producers with restaurants, hotels, among others. The company claims to use artificial intelligence and machine learning in order to reduce food wastage and production costs as it fulfils customer requirements. 

LightBox Ventures declined to comment for this story. A WayCool spokesperson said, “We are at a very early stage of discussion with multiple potential partners for our next phase of growth.”

In January, WayCool had raised Rs 120 crore in equity and debt from LGT Impact Ventures, Caspian Impact Investment Advisor and Northern Arc Capital. The round saw participation from a few angel investors, too. 

Following this, the Chennai-based company raised nearly $5 million in a Series C round from Lightstone Global Fund, reported TechCircle citing regulatory filings. This report also said that the company is in talks to raise another $5.2 million from Dutch development financial institution FMO.      

WayCool operates across multiple channels and categories like fresh produce, staples and dairy helping clients in the trade and food services space. As of June, the company claimed to deliver 200 tons of food products to a network of over 8,000 clients from a base of 35,000 farmers. 

Startups in the agritech and B2B e-commerce space have been gaining investor attention over the last year. WayCool competes with the likes of NinjaCart and Udaan, among several others. 

B2B e-commerce startup Udaan, founded by three former Flipkart executives, also raised a large financing round this year. The Bengaluru-based firm focuses on delivering both fresh produce and non-fresh products in the food category. Udaan was founded in 2016, and since then, it has become received the tag of becoming the fastest unicorn — startups that are valued at $1 billion or more — in the country. 

In October, the company raised a whopping $585 million

On the other hand, NinjaCart received $90 million from New York’s Tiger Global Management earlier this year. Founded in 2015, NinjaCart began as a B2C hyperlocal grocery delivery company but slowly pivoted and now allows farmers to directly sell their produce to restaurants, grocery stores, among others. 

Interestingly, WayCool had also started as a B2C venture called SunnyBee where they had launched a chain of stores in Chennai to sell fresh produce. However, they soon pivoted to the B2B model creating a tech-enabled supply chain from farm to fork. 

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