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Merak Ventures Invests in Farmtheory

In Agriculture, Business, Food, News
February 27, 2024

Merak Ventures, a sector-agnostic early-stage venture capital (VC) firm, has announced its second significant investment of $1.45Mn (~12CR INR) in Farmtheory, a B2B agri-food start-up. Farmtheory helps in minimizing food waste at the source, boosting farm yields and delivering quality ingredients to commercial kitchens.

A sizeable portion of food supply in India remains unsold at the source due to unrealistic cosmetic standards – fruits and vegetables that outwardly look different but are perfectly edible are often discarded. Farmtheory acquires this nutritious, ‘freeform’ produce directly from farmers and supplies it to a range of buyers, from cloud kitchens and catering companies to food processors and restaurants, who can use it just like conventionally shaped produce.

As pioneers in India at addressing food loss by changing narrow definitions of what produce can make it to market, Farmtheory, a Y-Combinator backed startup, aims to enhance farmer incomes, address food loss, and combat climate change by redirecting edible produce to new markets rather than letting it go to waste.

Sheetal Bahl, Partner at Merak Ventures, remarked, “At Merak Ventures, we recognize the brilliance and audacity of Farmtheory’s team. Not only are they addressing the challenges of food waste, farmer income, and climate change — they’re reimagining solutions with the potential to transform the agri-food landscape. By coining the term ‘freeform produce’ to describe crops that are irregularly shaped or sized, Farmtheory is reframing the narrative from ‘ugly produce’ to appreciating the value of these untapped crops. Their leadership in India’s ‘freeform produce’ movement, proven successful in developed markets as the ‘ugly produce movement’, demonstrates a game-changing approach, echoing our own ethos of investing in ventures that promise not only returns but contribute towards a sustainable future.”

Arpit Agarwal and Sakshi Agarwal, the founders of Farmtheory, bring a blend of passion, innovation, and expertise to the company. Arpit’s background in technology and Sakshi’s early commitment to revolutionising the food industry constructed the foundation of Farmtheory’s success. Their shared vision for an ethical food ecosystem that benefits growers, makers and the planet is at the heart of Farmtheory’s mission.

“Farmtheory embodies a vision where every connection between farmer and consumer signifies more than just a transaction — it represents a commitment to enriching lives and fostering sustainability. Through our platform, we empower farmers to share their harvests with the world, creating meaningful connections that sustain communities and promote environmental responsibility. We’re thrilled to welcome Merak Ventures as our partner, sharing our values and vision as we work together towards our goals,” said Arpit Agarwal, Co-founder of Farmtheory.

The investment from Merak Ventures will enable Farmtheory to scale its operations, mainly focusing on expanding its supply arm, enhancing its technological infrastructure and bolstering its supply chain by reaching out to more farmers, ensuring a robust and sustainable source of produce.

Since its inception in 2019, the brand has on-boarded 3000 partner farmers, so far, and has served over 1500 kitchens. The company plans to significantly scale up its partner and geographic footprint, forging ahead to bring its innovative model to benefit more farmer communities nationwide.