Press Release: Upaya Social Ventures and Beyond Capital Recommit To Investment in Freshr To Further Benefit Smallholder Farmers in India
Upaya Social Ventures and Beyond Capital are pleased to announce their follow-on investments in FreshR, a burgeoning social enterprise based in Odisha, India. FreshR connects smallholder farmers with underserved markets to increase farmer incomes and enhance consumer access to fresh local meats and fish. FreshR leverages innovative supply chain technologies and retail platforms to create an integrated distribution model, creating India’s first one-stop solution for the fresh meat and fish industry.
FreshR founders Sadananda and Ambika Satapathy started their business in 2016 to improve access to fresh meat retail in Odisha with the goal of combatting the malnutrition and high unemployment rates prevalent in the region. The company builds reliable rural and urban distribution networks that offer smallholder farmers support and greater access to the fresh meat value chain. Their business also proved resilient during the COVID-19 pandemic-related lockdowns in India.
Along with the Eckenstein-Geigy Foundation, this bridge-round follow-on investment will allow FreshR to expand its operations into the cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack in eastern India, as well as extend its network from 200 to 850 microentrepreneurs and farmers to generate greater financial and social impact.
“We are excited about the impact FreshR will create by helping microentrepreneurs and smallholder farmers command higher prices in the market and introduce standard operating procedures that will greatly improve the quality of fresh food in their communities,” said Eva Yazhari, CEO of Beyond Capital.
“As we look to the recovery phase of the COVID-19 crisis, the most important thing we can do is to safeguard and grow jobs for the most vulnerable. Upaya is pleased to be bringing innovative revenue-based financing to FreshR to help them grow their business in a way that aligns our interests,” said Kate Cochran, CEO of Upaya Social Ventures.
Since Upaya Social Ventures’ and Beyond Capital’s initial investment in 2019, FreshR has helped poultry farmers increase their incomes by almost $1,500 and microentrepreneurs by almost $4,000 annually. The company has successfully launched its meat mart and executed live fish and iced fish transportation, greatly improving the quality of meat available in the marketplace. The expansion into Bhubaneswar-Cuttack will enable the company to capture a much larger market, beyond its current operations in Bhawanipatna.
ABOUT UPAYA SOCIAL VENTURES
Upaya Social Ventures is fighting extreme poverty through dignified jobs. Founded in 2011, Upaya provides investment and consulting support to early-stage businesses aimed at creating jobs for the poorest of the poor. Upaya’s continually growing portfolio of impact investments has created over 16,000 lasting, dignified jobs. Endorsed by ImpactMatters as a high-impact, cost-effective nonprofit, Upaya’s teams in Seattle and Bangalore are committed to a goal of helping entrepreneurs create jobs for 50,000 people in India by 2023. Please visit http://www.upayasv.org for more information.
ABOUT BEYOND CAPITAL
Beyond Capital is an impact investment fund that invests in for-profit social enterprises throughout India and East Africa. The fund invests in businesses that are focused on greater access to health care, water, sanitation, and energy, as well as food security and financial inclusion, which can increase the quality of life for consumers living at the bottom of the economic pyramid. Though the fund seeks market-rate financial returns, Beyond Capital is structured as a nonprofit, which permits the organization to emphasize fidelity to its social mission alongside its financial mandate. Please visit http://www.beyondcapitalfund.org for more information.
Photo courtesy of Sandeepachetan.Com travel photography.