AIC-BIMTECH Incubated startup FreshR raised $1.2 million in a seed round led by Axilor Ventures and 1crowd.
Ambika Satapathy co-founded B2B-focused meat and seafood delivery startup FreshR with her husband Sadanand Satapathy in 2016. In June, the startup raised $1.2 million in a seed round led by Axilor Ventures and 1crowd.
Much has been said and written about how the pandemic outbreak in 2020 was a boon of sorts for online direct-to-customer (D2C) meat delivery startups in India.
According to a report by research group RedSeer, Indian shoppers increasingly took to buying meat online “driven by the assurance of safety and hygiene, availability of various products under one umbrella, and doorstep service provided by online meat providers”.
While retail consumers turned to online meat delivery, businesses were not far behind in discovering the advantages of an organised meat market. Realising this first hand was Ambika Satapathy, the Co-founder and CEO of Delhi-headquartered FreshR, a B2B marketplace for fish and meat in India.
In a chat with YourStory, she talks about how FreshR plans to reimagine the traditionally unorganised sector by digitising the value chain, and building an infrastructure for fulfilment whilst improving farmer incomes and creating a seamless user experience for B2B buyers.
FreshR was founded by Ambika and her husband Sadanand Satapathy, a former Ministry of Defence employee who was part of the team that inspected supplies to the defence forces.
“Ours is a farm-to-fork journey, so to speak. When we started out, we set up our own poultry farms in Orissa and eventually realised how massive and unorganised the meat industry was, especially post-production, the supply chain, and distribution. There was absolutely no modernisation and many large players were simply trying to consolidate the post-harvest supply chain,” Ambika recalls.
She says Sadanand’s work with the MoD gave him good exposure to manufacturing best practices, and was instrumental in him wanting to set up something of his own.
In 2019, sitting out of Bhubaneshwar, Orissa, Sadanand’s hometown, the couple registered FreshR as a private limited company, raised a pre-seed round from a bunch of impact investors and Bharat Petroleum’s startup fund, and diversified their product portfolio into fish, chicken, and mutton products.
The company’s target areas are Orissa, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, and West Bengal.
“The idea was to buy high-quality products from source, and supply it to high-value markets. These areas are production zones where we can yield very great products at a competitive price. We now have distribution in cities across eastern North India, and we are also setting up a processing and distribution centre in Delhi-NCR,” Ambika says.