Lawrencedale Agro Processing Pvt. Ltd (LEAF) announced on Monday that it secured investment in a Series B round of funding from US-based venture capital firm Unitus Impact as well as Denmark-based Bestseller Foundation. The Ooty-based startup is backed by the investment arm of Soros Economic Development Fund and they have not disclosed the amount raised.
The money will be utilised to expand its presence across South India and engage within a significantly larger number of horticulture belts.
In 2013, LEAF had raised a Series A round of funding from the Aspada Investment Company and Lawrencedale Estate and Farms Pvt. Ltd is the holding company and the only other shareholder in the company.
Kristian Sloth Petersen, managing director of Bestseller Foundation said, “More than 80% of farmers in India hold less than 2 hectares of land and given the fact that LEAF works extensively with them for livelihood improvement, the investment fits perfectly with our philosophy of working to improve sustainable agriculture value chains.” And talking about this new round of funding, Kushal Agarwal, CFO Aspada investment Advisors said, “Bestseller Foundation and Unitus Impact will be great partners for us in building LEAF further.”
Lawrencedale cleans, packs and brands farm produce as LEAF and supplies them to retailers around the country. On an average, the company handles more than 7,000 tonnes of fresh produce annually, and it works with 300 retail stores across South India including chains like Spar Hypermarket, Star Bazaar, Future Group and Godrej Nature’s Basket. Lawrencedale also provides farmers genetically superior planting materials, technical support to reduce post-harvest loss, cold storage facilities, state-of-the-art facilities for processing the produce and packaging and transporting the produce to the end user. In South India alone, the company works with over 3,000 farmers and is looking to expand its scope of operations to engage with more than 10,000 farmers in the next few years.
Our end-to-end integrated cold-store value chain with significant investments in post-harvest management is bringing about a noticeable impact in not only to the lives of farmers but to end-consumers of fresh produce and retailers who are struggling to source quality fresh produce,” added Palat Vijayaraghavan, Founder & CEO of Lawrencedale Agro Processing.
Bestseller Foundation was founded in 2015 as a private philanthropic foundation and contributes to commercially driven inclusive and sustainable development. The foundation invests in, builds and facilitates linkages between talented entrepreneus and promising companies that build on business models with integrated impact. And the Unitus Impact is a venture capital firm that invests in scalable companies working to increase incomes and improve the livelihoods of the working poor in South East Asia and India.