India’s leading food and agri-tech platform WayCool is open to partnerships for business as well as for investments, said Karthik Jayaraman, managing director and co-founder, WayCool, who was in Dubai recently.
The startup has so far raised about $160 million so far and by 2023, the venture targets to raise $250 million. WayCool had organised the investors programme to attract investors and partners. The startup introduced themselves to the UAE market at Expo 2020 and established a foothold in the country.
Focusing on food development and distribution, the company leverages innovative technology to scale and operate a complex supply chain from soil to sale. Through its farmer engagement programme 'Outgrow', the company works closely with 150k farmers.
WayCool operates a full stack, broadline product range across multiple channels and categories such as fresh produce, staples, and dairy, serving over 100,000 clients in the general trade, modern trade, and food services space. WayCool’s consumer brands basket consists of Madhuram, Kitchenji, L’exotique, and Freshey’s, to name a few.
"We have already established our presence here in the UAE. Some of our products were pilot launched in this country and we are currently present in over 300 outlets across the UAE," said Jayaraman.
"Our main goal is to build reliable, resilient supply chains in the industry. India and the UAE have been partners for several decades and it is our responsibility to contribute to India’s food security partnership with the UAE. The challenge is in the implementation of an operational supply chain to empower the trade relationship."
The startup takes multilateral approach to ensure quality, consistency, and reliability of the food supply. "Within India, we have started growing exotic vegetables in India like lettuce and broccoli in and around Bangalore. Since there is no need to import these vegetables, we save around 289 kg of CO2 saved per trip. Similarly, we encourage the growth of potatoes in Assam to localise its supply. In this way, we improve the local economy and reduce the carbon footprint in the process," said Jayaraman.
For UAE, certain products need to be grown in containerised farms, others in poly houses. Al Ain is an ideal location for this project.
"We recently announced an investment in our IoT sector. The technologies being developed by the team will help in any poly house farming including predictive irrigation and predictive disease treatment.Similarly, we are talking to a potential investment prospect in the hydroponics space. If it turns out to be positive, wewill be able to bring precision indoor farming to our target geographies including India and the UAE," concluded Jayaraman.
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