Agritech startup Agroshift raises $1.8m

Largest ever pre-seed funding in Bangladesh

Agroshift, a Bangladeshi agri-tech that enables businesses to source directly from farmers, has announced it has raised $1.8 million in funding, making it the largest-ever pre-seed round for any startup in the country.  

The announcement bears a greater significance for the local start-up sector amid the ongoing global economic downturn as venture capital firms have cut investment from the beginning of the second quarter of 2022.

Agroshift's funding will take the total funding in local technology startups to $815.8 million, according to LightCastle Partners.

The round was co-led by UAE-based Shorooq Partners, a technology investor in the Middle East, along with Anchorless Bangladesh, a New York-based early-stage venture capital firm active in the local startup ecosystem.

Founded in March 2022 by Qazi Bouland, Rameez Hoque, and Diptha Saha, Agroshift is building a digital platform to transform the agricultural supply chain of Bangladesh.

It helps farmers sell their products to businesses and consumers by merging the physical and digital worlds for a "phy-gital" business model –– for demand aggregation, sourcing, and delivery.

Agroshift's funding will take the total funding in local technology startups to $815.8 million, according to LightCastle Partners

The company is currently focusing on two primary sales channels – factories, especially ready-made garments, and micro-retailers, with a combined addressable market size of approximately $11 billion.

Agroshift works directly with farmers and traders in a micro-fulfilment model to source daily needs like vegetables, fruits, grains, and meat. This enables garment workers to get direct access to high-quality and affordable fresh produce.

Using the same infrastructure, the startup is also supplying the surrounding micro-retailers of these factories.

In a press release, Qazi Bouland said, "By 2030, Bangladesh will become the ninth largest consumer market in the world, creating an urgent need for high-quality and fresher food. Agroshift is poised to solve this critical problem at the right juncture in the country's growth."

"Our unique model eliminates the need for traditional retail touchpoints, instead leveraging a combination of digital ordering kiosks and lean drop-off points within factory premises. This plug and play digital grocery solution for workers is getting appreciation from factory management due to savings, access to quality food, and overall improvement in worker wellbeing," said Rameez Hoque.

Omer Zabit, principal at Shorooq Partners, said: "We're excited to back Agroshift in their vision to serve millions of people working in the agriculture and textile sectors across Bangladesh. Agroshift's customers are the driving force behind these sizable economic sectors and we're humbled to support the team's ambition."

"Agriculture is one of the cornerstones of the Bangladeshi economy—with over $40 billion of output—and Agroshift's micro-logistics model is the most effective we have seen in helping drive value for both producers and consumers—especially those in one of the country's most valuable sectors: garments workers," added Rahat Ahmed.