BharatAgri, Railofy raise fresh capital

BharatAgri, Railofy raise fresh capital
Photo Credit: 123RF.com
29 Oct, 2020

Pune-based LeanCrop Technology Solutions, which runs personalised agriculture advisory platform BharatAgri, has raised $2 million (Rs 14.8 crore) in a fresh funding round, dubbed a pre-Series A round.

Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal-backed 021 Capital led the round, with participation from returning investors India Quotient, Better Capital and Quest Global COO Ajay Prabhu, a statement said.

BharatAgri said it plans to use the fresh capital to expand its footprint in India, and focus on product enhancement and growth. 

Read: BharatAgri among 20 startups chosen for GFS Accelerator programme

The startup, founded in 2017 by IIT graduates Sai Gole and Siddharth Dialani, had reportedly raised $574,000 from India Quotient and others in January this year.

The startup’s farming technology platform, accessible through a paid subscription, offers weather-based dynamic advisory, season-long predictive calendar and other personalised consultations to enable farmers to improve the yield and quality of their produce. It also helps them realise better value for their products by reducing management costs.

The platform currently has more than 3,50,000 users and its paid user-base is growing 40% month-on-month with the increasing adoption of smartphones and the internet in rural India, the statement said.

“We... believe that they can make a large-scale impact in the agri sector and in the lives of farmers in India,” Sailesh Tulshan, founder of lead investor 021 Capital, said in the statement. 

“In a span of one year, BharatAgri’s personalised agri-platform has witnessed 10X growth. They have been able to help tens of thousands of farmers during these challenging times and equip them with real-time solutions,” he said.

Railofy raises $540,000 in ongoing seed funding round

Mumbai-based Rodeo Travel Technologies, which offers waitlisted and RAC ticket protection through digital platform Railofy, said it has raised $540,000 (Rs 4 crore) in an ongoing seed funding round. 

The capital infusion from Root Ventures, Astarc Ventures, Better Capital and undisclosed angel investors, a statement said, comes a month after Chiratae Ventures invested $955,000 in the firm as part of the same round. 

Additionally, the firm said it has onboarded Anand Srinivasan, former revenue head of GoAir, and Sunil Kumar, ex-joint general manager (portals) at IRCTC, as mentors.

Founded in 2019 by Rohan Dedhia, Vaibhav Saraf and Hrishabh Sanghvi, Railofy’s asset-light model aims to remove the element of unpredictability from travel in India. 

The company’s artificial intelligence-backed digital platform allows train travelers to protect their waitlisted or RAC tickets by reserving an alternative travel option -- a flight or AC bus (for shorter routes) -- at prices similar to that of the train ticket. Then, if the rail ticket is not confirmed, the passengers are allowed to book the flight/bus at the previously locked price and travel on the same day. 

The platform, launched in September, has issued thousands of protections to Indian travelers so far, the statement said. 

“We are seeing a good customer response even in the current pandemic, which testifies to the intensity of the problem faced by an average Indian when his train ticket is not confirmed,” the co-founders said in a statement following the latest fundraise.

Currently, the protection is only available for SL and AC class tickets on all special trains, but the company said it will use the fresh funds to strengthen its pan-India presence and enable protection for all train classes across more than 2,000 passenger trains by 2021. It will also deploy the capital to manage passenger demand during the upcoming festive rush.

Peel-Works raises $3 mn debt funding

Mumbai-based Peel-Works, which runs a B2B grocery ecommerce platform, has raised $3 million in debt funding.

Of the aggregate amount, 10-year-old BlackSoil Capital invested $1 million venture debt, while the rest has been secured as working capital from other undisclosed investors, including some of the company’s key suppliers, a statement said.

Peel-Works said it will use the proceeds to strengthen its retail management platform Taikee. It will expand the platform’s network across the country, offering retail businesses a wider assortment of products and faster fulfilment of their orders, it said. 

The company has direct tie-ups with leading FMCG brands for easy delivery of groceries to neighbourhood corner stores.

“With the onset of Covid-19, B2B ecommerce has received a significant boost, which in turn, has forced legacy players across industries to adopt tech solutions to compete with new-age companies like Peel-Works,” Sachin Chhabra, founder of Peel-Works, said. 

“We believe the time is ripe for us to expand our presence across various geographies beyond the top 10 cities that we currently operate in and the fund that we have received would be extremely helpful in our endeavour,” he said.

Prior to this, the ten-year-old company had raised $15 million from multiple investors, including HDFC Bank, Chiratae Ventures, CESC Ventures, Unilever Ventures, Inventus Capital, Indian Angel Network and Equanimity

It looks to achieve EBITDA breakeven by the end of the current financial year.

Fertility-tech startup Janani raises $200,000

Early-stage fertility technology startup Janani on Thursday said it has raised $200,000 (Rs 1.5 crore) in a bridge funding round, dubbed a pre-seed round.

Venture capital fund 9Unicorns led the round, with participation from multiple angel investors, including Archana Priyadarshini, Sweta Rau from White Ventures, IVF expert Nandita Palshetkar and Astir VC partner Kishore Ganji. The company did not disclose the identity of the other angels in the round in its statement.

Founded in June 2020 by Nilay Mehrotra, the Bengaluru-based startup said it plans to use the fresh capital to develop better and more affordable infertility treatment and assisted fertilisation solutions. The fertility management industry is estimated to be valued at $36 billion globally, it said.

The company aims to leverage modern technology and excellent medical care -- from superior quality lab environment and expert gynaecologists to high-quality medicines -- to maximise the chances of conceiving successfully while also making the entire process easier, a statement said. 

Janani is also working on an AI and computer vision tool that looks to remove the subjectivity of embryologists while choosing the right embryo and further contribute toward increasing the success rates of IVF treatments.

“The availability of high-quality infertility treatment in India is limited to a few major cities, the process being inconvenient and traumatic,” investor Archana Priyadarshini said. “Many patients also lack the means to afford these quality medical solutions. Janani aims to disrupt this space by providing best-in-class medical care at an affordable price point to the couples.”

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