Business

Freshket raises $3 million funding to streamline Thailand’s food supply chain

Freshket - Appy Pie

Freshket, a startup launched in 2017, has raised a USD 3 million Series A, led by Openspace Ventures.

Freshket’s new funding will be used to improve its supply management technology. In the future, the company has plans to add more services, like financing, demand forecasting, and price matching.

The startup streamlines and simplifies the process of getting fresh produce from farms to tables and this is the most relevant need due to the Covid-19 spread.  The startup was co-founded by chief executive Ponglada Paniangwet and Chief Marketing Officer Tuangploi Chiwalaksanangkoon, both of who worked in the marketing section of other companies before launching Freshket.

Freshket’s technology includes an e-commerce marketplace that connects farmers and food processors to businesses, like restaurants and consumers in Thailand.

Other participants included in the fundraising were Thai private equity firm ECG-Research; Innospace; and Pamitra Wineka and Ivan Sustiawan, the co-founders of Indonesian agriculture technology startup TaniHub. French-Singaporean food conglomerate Denis Asia Pacific and Thai family office Seedersclub, who made previous investments in Freshket, also returned for the Series A.

Freshket’s goal is to become an enabler for the food supply chain. Chief Executive Paniangwet said that she wanted to enter agritech because her family has worked in the agriculture business for 25 years. The co-founder and chief executive further added, “I grew up learning a lot about what worked and didn’t work in the industry. Overall, the industry is tedious, messy, and manual.”

The company’s platform has tried to organize Thailand’s patchy produce supply chain by bringing together processing centers and suppliers and connecting them directly with farmers, who usually rely on middlemen. Freshket also provides its users with data to help them calculate and evaluate supply and demand for their crops.

Before Freshket, Paniangwet started a processing center, which sources, cuts, and trims fresh produce at wholesale fresh markets before delivering them to restaurants and other customers. She realized technology could be used to simplify the supply chain, increasing farmers’ incomes and the quality of produce received by customers.

Tuangploi Chiwalaksanangkoon, who was already Paniangwet’s good friend, left her position at one of Thailand’s largest banks to co-found Freshket.

Freshket’s main rivals in the B2B space are traditional supply chain businesses; in the consumer space, and grocery delivery startups. It competes with delivery apps by offering lower retail prices since Freshket is already tapped into a streamlined supply chain. For B2B customers, Freshket’s selling points include more precise delivery, a wider variety of products, and produce gradings.

Paniangwet said, “The B2B food delivery business has high average order values, fortifying its unit economics. Freshket’s order, warehouse and logistics management systems are all linked together and because of that, we are able to control the flow of goods, limit additional and labor costs and keep our overall cost base manageable.”

Freshket is not the only startup in Southeast Asian markets to focus on streamlining the food supply chain in different countries. Others include TaniHub and Eden Farm in Indonesia, Agribuddy in Cambodia, and Singapore-based Glife.