The Series-A funds raised will be used by Ecozen to expand production capacity and market reach.
Ecozen Solutions has announced that they have raised Series-A fund from Omnivore Partners. Based in Pune and Raipur, Ecozen Solutions manufactures proprietary, solar-powered, micro cold storage units and water pumping technologies for farmers and rural communities.
Omnivore Partners has taken a substantial minority stake in Ecozen and will be joining the Board of Directors. The Series-A funds raised will be used by Ecozen to expand production capacity and market reach. Omnivore also purchased the Villgro Innovations Foundation’s equity stake in Ecozen. Villgro, a Chennai-based social enterprise incubator, provided seed-stage investment to Ecozen in 2014.
Ecozen was founded in 2009 by a qualified team of engineers from IIT Kharagpur who opted out of campus placements. Ecozen initially focused on differentiated solar pumping solutions, and to date has installed over 125 pumps in Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Assam. Ecozen is working on new technologies that allow pumps to utilize solar power more efficiently and which can mitigate the risk of groundwater depletion.
“Ecozen is also currently deploying a micro cold storage solution, targeted at horticulture and floriculture farmers, which is the first of its kind globally. Micro cold storage is a last mile solution for India’s cold chain, which enables farmers to sell their fresh produce at a time of their choosing. Farmers using micro cold storage realize higher prices for their crop by avoiding the glutted markets that occur at harvest time. Having successfully piloted micro cold storage in Karnataka, Ecozen is now scaling up installations nationwide,” said the company’s press statement.
“Our aim is to use the funding to reach critical mass and invest in manufacturing of the product. Our storage solution has already been deployed in Karnataka through the University of Agriculture Sciences, Raichur. We are reaching out to more areas in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh. We will also be using the funding to improve the business structure and supply chain including logistics and production," said Devendra Gupta, co-founder of Ecozen.
Gupta, an alumnus of Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, founded Ecozen along with Vivek Pandey and Prateek Singhal in 2010.
“Omnivore first met Ecozen team in 2012 while visiting IIT-KGP in search of innovative agricultural technology (AgTech) startups. We introduced the Ecozen team to Villgro, which provided accelerator support and seed funding. We are very proud of what Ecozen has accomplished over past three years and are delighted to be the sole investor in their Series-A funding round. Omnivore believes that Ecozen has the solution to provide last mile cold chain to India's farmers and radically reduce losses of fresh produce. This is one AgTech startup that should be on everyone's radar", said Jinesh Shah, Founding Partner, Omnivore.
"Villgro has been supporting Ecozen since 2012 through mentoring and incubation services and, subsequently, with seed funding. We believe the company's micro cold storage solution has the potential to help thousands of farmers. This investment is a testament to the potential of the product and that of a team of young and passionate entrepreneurs," said Mukesh Sharma, Chief Investment Officer, Villgro.