Lightbox leads $32 mn Series C round in agri-tech startup Waycool

Lightbox leads $32 mn Series C round in agri-tech startup Waycool
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Chennai-headquartered WayCool Foods & Products, a business-to-business (B2B) omnichannel fresh produce distributor, has raised $32 million in a Series C round led by venture capital firm Lightbox Ventures.

The round was a combination of debt and equity. InnoVen Capital backed the company via a venture debt infusion while Dutch Bank FMO and returning investor LGT Lightstone Aspada participated as equity investors, a statement said.

The development comes months after FMO said it planned to invest $5.2 million in the platform. 

With the latest round, the company has so far raised $56 million, according to data from VCCEdge. 

Waycool raised $16 million in a Series B round in January 2019. The round was led by Zurich headquartered impact investor LGT along with non-banking finance company (NBFC) Northern Arc Capital and Hyderabad-based impact investor Caspian.   

The company also counts logistics startup Rivigo, media firm Sakal Papers, and several angels among its investor base.

It plans to use the capital to automate its supply chain. Waycool will also develop and expand its range of value-added products to enterprise and retail customers.

Founded in 2015 by Karthik Jayaraman and Sanjay Dasari, Waycool sources produce directly from farmers and sells them to kiranas, restaurants, hotels and retail outlets. It claims to use technology such as data analytics to improve the supply chain. 

Waycool says it markets 250 tonnes of food a day to 8,000 clients, mostly in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. It had used the capital raised in the previous round to expand in northern and western India.  

The company competes with players such as Lawrencedale Agro Processing India, Freshboxx Ventures, and Agrowave in this space.

“Lightbox’s deep experience in technology and brand building will greatly help us as we strengthen our digital backbone and our move into value-added products. FMO’s guidance will be of the essence in building a culture of impact orientation across the organisation and stay true to the course,” Karthik Jayaraman, co-founder and CEO of WayCool said.

In August 2019, Mumbai-based venture capital firm Lightbox raised $209 million at the final close of its third fund, slightly higher than its targeted $200 million. The firm’s portfolio includes cloud kitchen Rebel Foods, online car marketplace Droom, furniture rental startup Furlenco, mobile advertiser InMobi and jewellery portal Melorra. Its recent investments include delivery platform Dunzo, and online apparel startup Bombay Shirt Company.

FMO, the Netherlands-based development finance company, finances projects through equity and debt instruments in sectors such as agri-business, food and water, energy and financial institutions in underserved regions. It has been an active investor in India. In 2019, FMO invested in Aye Finance and FtCash.

InnoVen Capital typically invests at the Series A level in early-stage startups, which it also mentors. OYO Rooms, Swiggy, Byju’s, Nestaway, Pepperfry, Prizm Payments, Shaadi.com, Shopclues, and Myntra are some of its well-known portfolio companies.

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