57 Stars leads $40m investment in Indian agritech startup WayCool Foods

Indian agritech startup WayCool Foods and Products Pvt Ltd has raised $40 million in fresh financing led by global investment firm 57 Stars LLC, it announced on Wednesday.

WayCool has raised $25 million in equity and the rest as debt.

The fresh infusion comes less than six months after the startup raised a bigger round of $117 million as part of its Series D funding from LightRock, LightBox, FMO, Lightsmith, World Bank’s International Finance Corp (IFC), Redwood Equity Partners and Gawa Capital.

The investment marks the first transaction for 57 Stars’ Direct Impact Fund and the second for 57 Stars’ Global Innovation Fund 2 (GIF 2).

“We believe our investment in WayCool is highly impactful, generating significant positive social and environmental outcomes at scale and addressing massive challenges in the food supply chain, where an estimated 30% of food is wasted before it reaches the end consumer. This deal provides our investors with participation in India’s leading crop-tech company with the potential to outperform,” said 57 Stars co-founder and Managing Director Gene Pohren.

WayCool, headquartered in Chennai, was set up in July 2015 by Jayaraman and Sanjay Dasari. The company has a wide 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, e-commerce and food services space. It caters to over 500 locations in southern and western India.

In February 2020, the company had raised $32 million in a combination of equity and debt funding led by venture capital firm Lightbox. Earlier this year, the company had also acquired the IP of Bengaluru-based startup GramworkX, and also invested $7.5 million in SV Agri (SiddhiVinayak Agri Processing), a fully integrated player in the potato supply-chain ecosystem.

For FY22, the company clocked a gross revenue of Rs 1,000 crore, against Rs 370 crore in FY2021 and Rs 280 crore in FY2020, according to a report in The Hindu.

WayCool’s close competitors include Ninjacart, DeHaat and AgroStar. While Ninjacart raised $145 million from Flipkart and Walmart in December, DeHaat raised $115 million in its Series D round led by Belgium-based Sofina, Lightrock India and Temasek in October.

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