Pandemic fails to deter KSUM start-ups; find funds

Kerala Start Up Mission-mentored start-ups raise Rs 36-crore funding even in difficult times

Kerala Start Up Mission, the nodal agency of the Kerala government for entrepreneurship development and incubation activities in the state, is on cloud nine. Even as the Covid-19 pandemic had been raging, and forcing businesses to wind up by the roadside owing to lack of revenues and growth opportunities, a couple of KSUM mentored start-ups have found ways to blossom.

Two start-ups mentored by Kerala Start-up Mission have managed to raise Rs 36 crore from top-notch funders in August.  The two start-ups owe a lot to KSUM for hand holding them towards the success highway and let themselves steer through difficult times.

One among them is Clootrack, a real-time customer experience analytics platform. The start-up has raised Rs 30 crore via Series A funding. The other, an agritech start-up christened Farmers Fresh Zone, mopped up Rs 6 crore in pre-series A round through existing investors.

Investors pump in money into start-ups Clootrack, Farmers Fresh Zone

While Clootrack’s funding was led by Inventus Capital India, and existing investors Unicorn India Ventures, Indian Angel Network Fund and Salamander Excubator Angel Fund as well as individual investment from Jiffy.ai CEO Babu Sivadasan; funding for Farmers Fresh Zone was led by Indian Angel Network (IAN), with participation from IAN Fund, Malabar Angel Network, and Native Angel Network. With this round, the company has so far raised Rs 8.5 crore.

Clootrack, founded by Shameel Abdulla and Subbakrishna Rao, came into being in 2017, currently works with more than 150 customers in retail, direct-to-consumer, banking, automotive, travel and mobile app-based services sectors. With operations rooted in India, Clootrack is also onboarding companies in the United States and Europe. According to Shameel Abdulla, co-founder, Clootrack, most of the new funding would be leveraged for product development so that all data aggregations are gathered from all possible touch points.

At the same time, Farmers Fresh Zone, founded by engineer-turned-agri entrepreneur Pradeep PS in 2015, is engaged in procuring fresh produce directly from farmers. Positioned as an online marketplace where consumers can track the origin of a product, including details of the farms, the company ensures that farmers would receive the right rates for their produce. Farmers Fresh Zone also provides farmers data-based predictive information about the existing demand in the market to eliminate any wastage.

Agri start-up connects 3k farmers with urban users

The agri start-up, based in Kochi, has linked more than 3000 farmers with urban users through its omni-channel presence. Farmers Fresh Zone of late is spreading operations to neighbouring Tamil Nadu too.

Commenting in the new funding, Pradeep pointed out that the company would aim at becoming the number one player in the premium fruits and vegetable segment of South India. The focus would be towards offering health and wellness-based products, he added.

The Kerala Start Up Mission has anchored the funding activity by putting the start-ups in touch with the investor community. Being able to do so even at a time when the pandemic is raging, has provided the start-up eco system in Kerala with a glimmer of hope. The funding is expected to extend the much needed boost to start-ups that are beginning to dream big.

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