Pakistan’s B2B agriculture marketplace, Tazah Technologies, announced on Wednesday that it had raised $2 million in pre-seed funding.
The round was co-led by Global Founders Capital and Zayn Capital. Other participating investors included Ratio Ventures, Walled City Co, i2i Ventures, Suya Ventures, Globivest, Afropreneur Syndicate, +92 Ventures, Sunu Capital, Musha Investments and others.
The round that was massively oversubscribed also saw participation from local business groups including Mezan Foods and notable angels including senior executives in Careem and Swvl among others.
Tazah is an online marketplace that connects farmers and buyers, sells products, and screens produce for quality. Currently, about 300 small to medium-sized producers use the platform and sell five products: ginger, garlic, tomatoes, potatoes, and onions.
Tazah (meaning “fresh” in Urdu) is co-founded by Abrar Bajwa and Mohsin Zaka who have previously held leadership positions at ride-hailing giants like Careem and Swvl in Pakistan. “With exposure to agriculture through their families, Abrar and Mohsin have seen first-hand the need and opportunity to disrupt the Agri supply chain by bringing in a fresh perspective,” said a statement from the company.
“The agriculture and food supply chain in Pakistan represents a $60 billion opportunity but 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 startup’s mission is to transform the agriculture space in Pakistan and improve the lives of producers, businesses and consumers via a tech-enabled operating system for the agri and food value chain. By adding financing solutions in the near future, Tazah aims to be at the center of farmers’ and businesses’ lives where they perform most of their financial transactions on the Tazah platform. At scale, the B2B marketplace will reduce food prices and wastage, improve access to fresh products for everyone and lead to the social uplift of farmers.
Speaking on the occasion, Abrar Bajwa, 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.”
According to Mohsin Zaka, “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.”
Since commencing operations in Lahore just two months ago, Tazah has already close to 300 small and medium fruit & vegetable sellers moving several truckloads of produce daily. Tazah’s high customer retention and frequency is evidence of how the vertical marketplace has hit the right notes with its customers very early.
With this pre-seed funding, the startup aims to expand to other cities in Pakistan, enhance its product portfolio and build the foundation to improve the access to capital for farmers.
“We are excited to partner with the Tazah team in their mission to transform the Pakistani agricultural supply chain,” said Tito Costa, partner at Global Founders Capital.
“Tazah’s platform will unlock savings and create opportunities for both farmers and small businesses by cutting out current inefficiencies and waste.”
“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,” said Faisal Aftab, Co-Founder & Managing Partner of Zayn Capital.