Openspace leads $3m series A in Thai agritech startup Freshket

From Left to Right: Saran Chiwtanasuntorn (CTO), Tuangploi Chiwalaksanangkoon(CMO), Ponglada Paniangwet (CEO), and Narit Intharat (COO). Photo courtesy: Freshket

Freshket, a Bangkok-based agritech startup for fresh food suppliers and restaurants, has raised $3 million in a Series A funding round led by Singapore-based venture capital firm Openspace Ventures, the startup announced on Thursday.

Other participants in the round were Thai private equity firm ECG-Research, Thai public-private joint venture Innospace, and Pamitra Wineka and Ivan Sustiawan, the co-founders of the Indonesian agritech startup Tanihub. Existing investors Denis Asia Pacific — a French-Singaporean food conglomerate — and Thai family office Seedersclub also participated in the fundraising.

Founded in 2017 by Ponglada Paniangwet and Tuangploi Chiwalaksanangkoon, Freshket is an e-commerce marketplace that helps farmers and food processors supply fresh produce to businesses (B2B) and consumers (B2C) in Thailand. The country’s annual B2B foodservice market is worth over $7.7 billion in purchases from more than 200,000 restaurants, the company said.

The proceeds from the fundraising will allow Freshket to upgrade technologies, accelerate efficiencies for supply chain management, and improve its customer service platform. “Our planned technology investments will enable us to scale rapidly and move further upstream in the supply chain. As a result, we will be able to offer the best quality produce at the best prices to our customers,” said Freshket CEO Paniangwet.

In 2017, Freshket closed an undisclosed seed funding round from 500 TukTuks, which is a $15 million micro-fund launched by global VC firm 500 Startups for Thailand’s promising startups.

Freshket is Openspace Ventures’ second investment in Thailand after it led a $10 million investment in fintech firm Finnomena in January this year.

The VC firm is also a backer of Tanihub and Singapore grocery platform Redmart, from which the firm exited in 2016 after the platform was acquired by Alibaba-backed Lazada.

Openspace had raised over $90 million for the first close of its $200 million third Southeast Asia fund, DealStreetAsia reported last month, citing several informed sources. The firm’s funds have previously attracted investments from pension funds, university endowments, insurance companies, and family offices in the US, Australia, Europe, Japan, China, Korea, and Singapore.

Aside from Freshket, the players in the agritech sector in Thailand include EDEN agritech (sustainable methods for farming), and KoMoMi (an IoT-powered irrigation monitoring solutions).

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.