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FreshWorld seeks to challenge quick commerce models with EV pushcarts on an Uber-like app

FreshWorld seeks to challenge quick commerce models with EV pushcarts on an Uber-like app

FreshWorld is in the process of raising a new round of funding to grow its recently launched mobile app that offers an Uber-like experience for users to order fruits and vegetables.

The fruits and vegetable retailer's battery-powered carts are placed across the city. The fruits and vegetable retailer's battery-powered carts are placed across the city.

Bengaluru-based FreshWorld is in the process of raising a new round of funding to grow its recently launched mobile app that offers an Uber-like experience for users to order fruits and vegetables under 20 minutes.

The company is in the final stage of bringing a leading agri-value chain enabler as a strategic investor, FreshWorld founder Rajiv Rao said. The investment will help the company to expand its current electric pushcart fleet, strengthen its mobile app and expand to more regions in the city.

The fruits and vegetables retailer's battery-powered carts are placed across the city. Users can see the nearest cart on the app, just like booking an Uber, and place orders. The cart will reach users' doorsteps and they can pick and choose from cart and pay digitally.

Rao said the increased fleet capacity and the on-demand ordering capability of the new mobile app will help the company deliver products under 20 minutes.

The company is currently converting its existing fleet from lead-acid to lithium, which allows for fast charging and additional shift for carts. It is also adding 100 more carts by March 22 which will enable it to recalibrate its algorithm to be able to service customers under 20 minutes. The carts are leased out from EV producers like Balan Engineering and others.

The company currently clocks 1,250 orders a day and is looking to grow four-fold to 5,000 by converting all its existing carts to lithium battery.

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"We tried out 30 minutes at first, it worked fine. Now we are doing it in 15-20 minutes in an economical way, 10 minutes is what we want to achieve. While other grocery players spend time in allocating a delivery person who has to ride to the local hub, pack it and deliver it, my cart is near customers, they can pick and choose products at their door step, so I'm cutting down the travel time and saving on travel and packing costs," Rao said.

FreshWorld procures fruits and vegetables directly from farmers in the Hoskote region, stores them at a central warehouse and distributes to city hubs from where the items are loaded on the carts. The company operates four hubs now which will be up to 16 by June 2022.

The company also runs a meat delivery vertical under Royale Fresh, a startup it acquired in 2019. Royale Fresh, which runs dark stores across Bengaluru, also accepts orders on Swiggy Instamart and Dunzo. FreshWorld evangelizes the meat products to its customers, takes orders on a common platform and gets them delivered separately by a two-wheeler fleet.

"Our biggest strength is that we are mobile and we run on EV. The closer you are to the customer, the lesser the cost will be. With our mobility, the last mile to the customer is not so expensive. We cannot subsidise a heavy cost structure. The customer app model will help us achieve better unit economics and higher revenue," Rao said.

FreshWorld plans to expand its EV pushcart model to more cities, with Delhi-NCR and Hyderabad being the immediate targets.

Founded in 2012 by Rao, the company has raised multiple rounds of investments from Indian Angel Network (IAN) Fund; boutique investment banking firm CreedCap Asia Advisors; Venture Farmer, a Bengaluru-based family office; and Kris Gopalakrishnan, co-founder,Infosys.

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