USD 20 Million Capex
CHENNAI, 11 June 2021: Agri-tech firm WayCool Foods and Products has an investment capex of USD 20 million to invest in companies with complementary capabilities, according to the IANS report.
The INR 400 crore turnover company had earlier acquired two companies a logistics provider and a ready-to-cook maker--and has raised about USD 46 million equity and debt to date.
CEO and Co-Founder of WayCool Foods and Products Karthik Jayaraman said "We move about 500 ton per day across regions. There are companies available with specialised skills in specific supply chains. We will make investments in select segment specialists, as they complement our capabilities and save wastage."
He also said that the investment will be used for CAPEX towards technology and automation adding last year our USD 20 million investments were in capacity building and this year it will be in capability building."
Largely a business-to-business (B2B) food products supplier (source from farmers/farmer producer organisations directly and supply to retail outlets/bulk buyers) in the southern markets and in Maharashtra, WayCool Foods is also in the retail space with its SunnyBee retail outlets, the report added.
On the technology side, the investment will be for making WayCool's integrated platform scalable, add artificial intelligence for demand forecasting, supply planning, and reduced waste, sales enablement (recommendation engines), and crop management (weather-based advisory, disease identification) and have digital lending features.
In respect of automation, the plan is to make it 100 percent from the current 60 percent for fresh produce and scale up packing capacity.
WayCool will also build two dry grocery distribution centers, where picking, packing, and crating will be mechanised and further scale up automated dry grocery packing.
Agreeing that the COVID-19 lockdown and the resultant closure of several hotels and restaurants had impacted sales to HORECA (hotels, restaurants/catering) segment, Jayaraman added that it was offset by increased sales to retail outlets and online sales.
Catering to the demand, WayCool set up three `dark stores' (outlets that would cater only to other retail outlets, online sales) in Chennai and in Bengaluru.
"We set up our grading unit near the supply point so that waste products can be ploughed back into the farmland as manure while we transport good produce thereby reducing the carbon footprint," Jayaraman said.
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