The startup will deploy the funds in strengthening its team, enhancing its technology and infrastructure, and expanding further in the state of Karnataka. Within nine months of operations, the company claims to be positive with its unit economics.
Launched officially in December 2015 by Rohan Kulkarni, Freshboxx is incubated at Sandbox Startups, a unit of the Deshpande Foundation. The e-commerce platform focuses on selling farm fresh fruits and vegetables through its platform, and is currently operational only in Hubli in Karnataka.
Freshboxx has tied up with around 1,000 farmers and also plays a vital role in giving data feeds to the farmers, informing them of which crop to be grown and when to grow them, to get the optimal price from the market. They are working with Farm Produce Organisations and NGOs to have an effective supply-chain process and increase the income and productivity of the farmer.
According to the company’s statement, it is currently receiving over 500 orders a week and is growing at 40 percent M-o-M. A majority of orders are from the B2B segment through partnerships with restaurants, local messes, and grocery retailers like MORE, Reliance Retail Ltd, and 7days.
It claims to have an average monthly revenue of over Rs 25 lakh, with a decent gross profit margin. Furthermore, the company seeks to multiply revenue to Rs 1 crore per month and increase its customer base threefold in the next three months.
“Other players in this segment are working on a hyper-local delivery format— they try to deliver the product at the quickest possible time, getting it from different retail players. We focus on the quality of the products and services offered to customers, rather than turning ourselves into express delivery providers,” said Rohan.
He further added,
We are a lean inventory-based business model company that takes orders one day in advance while delivering our fruits and vegetables. In addition, we are also planning to launch a premium, 59-minute delivery service in October.
The growth of agri-based startups has been minimal in the Indian startup ecosystem, and a combination of e-commerce and agriculture, especially in the Tier II cities, has been a rare phenomenon. Online grocery app Grofers pulled out of nine cities, including Bhopal, Mysore and Bhubaneshwar, in January due to lower than expected uptake.
Zomato also shut down its online ordering service in four Tier II cities– Lucknow, Kochi, Coimbatore and Indore– owing to the small markets there. Understanding the market and devising strategies for each city have proved essential for the survival of players from different segments.