Milkbasket

Exclusive: Milkbasket’s Anant Goel to launch premium fruits and veggies brand

Milkbasket

More founders are looking to bring fresh farm produce to the customer’s doorstep. Anant Goel, the founder of subscription commerce startup MilkBasket, is all set to launch his new startup in the fruits and vegetables segment, according to three people aware of the development. 

This comes months after Milkbasket was acquired by Reliance Retail Ventures last year. The Milkbasket sale had followed a fractious period of disagreements on key issues between Goel and his main investor, Kalaari Ventures, with the sale to Reliance being seen as a compromise that eventually pleased no one.

“Goel has been working on his new startup for the past three to four months. The new venture will directly procure fruits and veggies from farmers to deliver in a few hours in the initial phase,” said one of the sources on the condition of anonymity. “He’s trying to build a consumer-centred premium fruits and vegetables brand.” 

Unilever-backed Milkbasket was acquired by Reliance at an estimated valuation of $40 million. Entrackr was the first to report the development in February 2021.

“Goel is also in late-stage conversations to raise over $10 million from investors including late-stage American investors while a clutch of Milkbasket’s backers such as Beenext, Blume Ventures and several angels are likely to join the potential round.”

According to sources, Goel’s new startup is yet to finalise the name of the brand.

Queries sent to Goel and Beenext did not elicit an immediate response. We’ll update the story as and when we hear from them.

While the country is yet to see a premium brand in the fresh fruits and vegetables segment, Goels’s new venture will indirectly compete with Otipy, one of the few ‘pure play’ ventures in the space, which recently cornered a $26 million round. Entrackr had exclusively reported about Otipy’s Series B round in December. 

Fraazo—which delivers fresh produce within 90 minutes of ordering—is also present in the segment with a quick commerce flavour. In October,  the company had raised $50 million in its Series B round led by WestBridge.

Amongst horizontal players, online grocer Big Basket (now owned by Tata Digital) has been a company that procured some of the produce from farmers directly and sold it on their platform under their brand name ‘Fresho.’   

The emergence of categories like exotic and organic in fruits and vegetables has offered a growing opportunity to these new ventures to steal a march over the local vendor, although it remains to be seen how long that lasts. The segment has been notoriously difficult to crack—due to issues linked to virtually every aspect from price, availability, quality and wastage. 

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