Wednesday, 2024 February 28

Tazah raises USD 2 million pre-seed to solve inefficiencies in Pakistan’s food and agricultural supply chain

Lahore-headquartered business-to-business fresh produce marketplace Tazah has raised USD 2 million in a pre-seed round co-led by Global Founders Capital and Zayn Capital. Ratio Ventures, Walled City Co., i2i Ventures, Suya Ventures, Globibest, Afropreneur‌ ‌Syndicate,‌ ‌+92‌ ‌Ventures,‌ ‌Sunu‌ ‌Capital,‌ ‌Musha‌ ‌Investments‌, Mezan Foods, and senior executives of Careem and Swvl also participated in the deal, according to a statement by the agritech startup, adding that the round was “massively oversubscribed.”

Founded a few months ago by former Careem executives Abrar Bajwa and Mohsin Zaka, Tazah is looking to solve inefficiencies in Pakistan’s agricultural supply chain by connecting farmers with businesses (and eventually consumers) and helping them sell fresh produce to them through its tech-enabled platform. The startup started with ginger, garlic, tomatoes, and onions. It plans to add more vegetables and introduce fruits over the next few months.

Tazah uses a managed marketplace model, where it guarantees the quality of the produce by screening it. It currently serves around 300 businesses and individual sellers of different sizes in Lahore, helping them procure the inventory of produce they sell. In a statement, the startup claimed to have a high customer retention rate, without sharing further details.

Abrar Bajwa, co-founder of Tazah, who previously worked in leadership roles for Careem and Swvl in Pakistan, said, “We are driven by the complexity and the sheer impact of the problem we are trying to solve. With the current ecosystem tailwinds and the team we are building, there is no doubt in our minds that we will be creating waves in the space very soon, leading to lasting dividends for producers, businesses, and consumers.”

A statement by the startup also noted that Pakistan’s ‌agriculture ‌and‌ ‌food‌ ‌supply‌ ‌chain‌ ‌ ‌represents‌ ‌a‌ ‌USD 60‌ ‌billion‌ ‌opportunity‌. “[The industry right now] ‌is‌ ‌extremely‌ ‌inefficient‌ ‌and‌ ‌unrewarding‌ ‌for‌ ‌its‌ ‌key‌ ‌stakeholders‌—farmers‌ ‌and‌ ‌businesses‌ ‌that‌ ‌sell‌ ‌and‌ ‌consume‌ ‌fresh‌ ‌produce.‌ ‌The‌ ‌extreme‌ ‌fragmentation‌ ‌of‌ ‌both‌ ‌supply‌ ‌and‌ ‌demand,‌ ‌geographical‌ ‌dispersion‌, and‌ ‌perishability‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌produce‌ ‌creates‌ ‌information‌ ‌and‌ ‌power‌ ‌asymmetries‌ ‌leading‌ ‌to‌ ‌poor‌ ‌outcomes‌ ‌for‌ ‌producers,‌ ‌businesses, and ‌consumers.‌ ‌At‌ ‌a‌ ‌macro‌ ‌level‌, ‌these‌ ‌inefficiencies‌ ‌result‌ ‌in‌ ‌significant‌ ‌food‌ ‌wastage,‌ ‌food‌ ‌price‌ ‌inflation‌, and‌ ‌therefore‌, ‌consumers‌ ‌spend‌ ‌almost‌ ‌33%‌ ‌of‌ ‌their‌ ‌income‌ ‌on‌ ‌food.”

The Pakistani startup aims to solve these inefficiencies and transform the local agriculture space. In addition to its marketplace, Tazah also plans to add financial solutions for farmers and other industry stakeholders. Its platform will help reduce food prices and wastage and improve access to fresh products for everyone.

Mohsin Zaka, co-founder of Tazah, said, “Technology deployed correctly can solve problems that have existed for decades. We have seen that first hand with Careem and the urban mobility problem. The technology that we are building at Tazah will have a much larger impact for a sector in Pakistan that desperately needs digitization and modernization.”

Zaka spent over four years with Careem, helping the company launch different categories in the country and eventually leading its overall ride-hailing business.

Tito Costa, a partner at Global Founders Capital, said, “We are excited to partner with the Tazah team in their mission to transform the Pakistani agricultural supply chain. Tazah’s platform will unlock savings and create opportunities for both farmers and small businesses by cutting out current inefficiencies and waste.”

Faisal Aftab, co-founder and managing partner of Zayn Capital, said, “Abrar and Mohsin have the right mix of scaling experience and vigor to tackle the asymmetric pricing problem in the fresh produce value chain. Tazah will empower farmers, retailers, and consumers with fairer price discovery.”

The startup plans to use the funds to expand to different cities in Pakistan, build its tech, enhance its product portfolio, and set up a foundation to improve access to capital for farmers.

This article first appeared in MENAbytes.


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