INDIA – WayCool Foods, a leading Indian food development, and distribution company, has raised US$117 million in a series D funding round which saw participation from investors such as Light Rock and Redwood Equity Partners.
Other new and existing investors in the round included LightBox, FMO, Lightsmith, World Bank Group’s- IFC, and Gawa Capital.
“WayCool Foods will use the fresh capital to accelerate and leverage deep tech and automation to enhance its efficiency multi-fold,” the company said in a statement.
Karthik Jayaraman, Chief Executive Officer, and Co-Founder, WayCool Foods revealed that the funds were comprised of equity (80 percent) and debt (20 percent). ”
He further revealed that deployment of funds has already begun with the first priority being to deepen and widen technology and automation, “in our quest to build the most comprehensive food and Agri platform in the world”.
The company is also looking to enter the alternative meats segment, which Jayaraman believes will grow rapidly in the near future.
According to a report by Research & Markets, the Indian meat substitutes market is likely to clock a compounded annual growth rate of 7.48% over the next five years to become a near $50 million industry by FY26
The company will deploy the funds to deepen its footprint in target geographies, adding up to 50 more distribution points over the next 18 months.
WayCool has begun building its next-gen technology center in Bengaluru, which will build out the tech platform and add layers of AI and analytics, the statement said.
The Chennai-based agritech startup also plans to strengthen its private labels, particularly in the value-added foods category.
“If you look at the sale of our private label brands, it is the same as the revenue of the entire company one and a half years ago,” Jayaraman said.
“We’ve grown 6x and within that, if you look at the value-added, ready-to-cook, and ready-to-eat categories, the growth has been about 8x, in the last 18 months or so. And it is only going to expand further.”
As drive to bolster its technology capabilties gathers momentum, the WayCool CEO has revealed that the company will add another 180 employees over the next three months to make it a 350- member team.
Overall, the company has more than 2,000 employees and works with 3,500 small farmers across South India daily, buying around 320 varieties of fresh produce as well as staples, dairy and other produce.
It also works directly with around 35 non-governmental cooperatives with access to a tentative base of 85,000 farmers.
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