Investments

Tazah raises $2 million pre-seed to solve inefficiencies in food and agri supply chain of Pakistan

Lahore-headquartered business-to-business fresh produce marketplace Tazah has raised $2 million in a pre-seed round co-led by Global Founders Capital and Zayn Capital, it announced on Wednesday. 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, noted the agritech startup in a statement, 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 the agricultural supply chain of Pakistan by connecting farmers with businesses (and eventually consumers) and help them sell fresh produce to them through its tech-enabled platform. The startup has started with ginger, garlic, tomatoes, and onions, and plans to add more vegetables and also introduce fruits over the next few months.

Tazah is doing this by using a managed marketplace model where it guarantees the quality of the produce by screening it. It is already serving about 300 businesses and individual sellers of different sizes in Lahore, helping them procure their inventory of produce it sells. In a statement, the startup claimed to have a high customer retention rate, without sharing further details.

Abrar Bajwa, the 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 the‌ ‌agriculture‌ ‌and‌ ‌food‌ ‌supply‌ ‌chain‌ ‌in‌ ‌Pakistan‌ ‌represents‌ ‌a‌ ‌$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 ‌wastages,‌ ‌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 stakeholders of the industry. In addition to the social uplift of farmers, its platform will help reduce food prices and wastage and improve access to fresh products for everyone.

Mohsin Zaka, the 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.”

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

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 & 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 of Pakistan, build its tech, enhance the product portfolio, and set up the foundation to improve the access to capital for farmers.

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