Goan agri-biotech startup raises Rs 4.3 crore funding

An agri-biotech startup called GreenPod Labs, has raised Rs 4.3 crore investments through a pre-seed round from investors including the Indian angel network and Rockstart.

GreenPod Labs offers packaging which enhances the shelf-life of fruits and vegetables and is supported by the Forum for Innovation Incubation Research & Entrepreneurship (FiiRE) Goa.

Founded in 2019 by Deepak Rajmohan and Vijay Anand, GreenPod Labs intends to minimise fresh produce loss and the fresh infusion of funds will be used for research and development as well as scaling up operations.

FiiRE had sanctioned Rs 7.5 lakh to GreenPod Labs under the Startup India Seed Fund Scheme (SISFS). FiiRE is listed as an incubator and is supported by the Centre.

GreenPod Labs developed biotech-based sachets as a cost-effective post-harvest customised packing solution for fruits and vegetables, said chief executive officer of FiiRE, D S Prashant.

“This biotech solution not only increases the shelf-life of fresh fruits and vegetables but also reduces the huge expenditure on cold storage and supply chains. The firm aims to cater to farmers, distributors, retailers, and e-commerce platforms,” said Prashant.

FiiRE was launched in 2018 at Don Bosco College of Engineering and the Margao-based technology business incubator was picked in July 2021 under the Startup India Seed Fund scheme to disburse funds to startups.

GreenPod Labs has developed biotech-based packaging sachets that extend the shelf-life of fruits and vegetables by eliminating the need for cold storage and cold supply chains.

GreenPod Labs targets farmers, distributors, retailers, and e-commerce platforms with crop-specific solutions that increase their shelf life at ambient temperatures.

The product comprises natural plant extracts that can activate a defense mechanism within a fruit or vegetable to slow down the ripening rate and minimize the microbial attack at ambient temperatures.

When the volatile active ingredient is released it slows down the ethylene biosynthesis pathway and restricts microbial growth of fresh produce without any expensive technologies (refrigeration) and harmful chemicals (toxic).

The product has been tested by NABL certified labs to prove there is zero residue of the product on the crop after use and does not impact the nutrition in any negative form. The company is working with more than 25+ customers to run product trials and validations for the last 6 months.

Speaking on the funding, Deepak Rajmohan, Co-Founder, GreenPod Labs, said, “Even after being the second-largest producer of fruits and vegetables, India losses over 40% of the fresh produce before it reaches the consumers. Each year, the country bears an economic loss ranging over $ 12 billion due to the lack of proper storage facilities. At GreenPod Labs, we are committed to solving this issue by developing cost-effective storage solutions. Our core objective is to create sustainable packaging products to minimize agricultural food wastage in India. With the recent funding, we plan to bolster our R&D foundation, both for biotech products and data science platforms. Also, we look forward to commercially scaling our three core products this year.

“The startup aims to utilise the investment to strengthen its R&D foundation and commercially scale product portfolio. The funding will also be directed towards expanding the R&D and operations team,” said GreenPod Labs.

Providing customizable biotech packaging sachets, GreenPod Labs is looking forward to launching products for three crops. The company is also working on developing four more products this year.

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