Rakuten and Beyond Next use $1M seed funding around farm-to-table startup Secai Marche

Farmers combined with food businesses, like consuming places, deal with the same issue: the perfect fragmented supply chain. Secai Marche wants to streamline agricultural logistics, making fulfillment more cost-efficient and enabling food businesses to bundle products from different farmers into the same order. The company is headquartered in Japan, with operations in Malaysia, and plans to expand into Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia. This week, it announced 150 million JPY (about $1.4 million USD) in pre-Series A funding from Rakuten Ventures and Beyond Next Ventures to build a B2B logistics platform for farmers that sell to restaurants, hotels and other F&B (food and beverage) businesses.

This round brings Secai Marche’s total raised to about $3 million. The capital will be used to expand its fulfillment infrastructure, including a network of warehouses and cold chain logistics, hire more people for its engineering team, and sales and marketing.

Secai Marche was founded in 2018 by Ami Sugiyama and Shusaku Hayakawa, and currently serves 130 farmers and more than 300 F&B businesses. Before launching the startup, Sugiyama spent seven years working in Southeast Asia, including managing restaurants and cafes in Malaysia. During that time, she started to import green tea from Japan, intending to sell it directly to customers in Malaysia. But she realized supply chain inefficiencies not only made it hard to meet demand, but also ensure quality for all kinds of ingredients.

Meanwhile, Hayakawa was operating a farm in Japan and working on agriculture control systems that predicted weather and crop growth to help farmers maintain consistent quality.

Both Sugiyama and Hayakawa ended up at consulting firm Deloitte, researching how to create a more efficient supply chain for Japanese agricultural exports to Singaporean F&B businesses. Policies implemented by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s administration < a href="https://www.eastasiaforum.org/2021/03/12/challenges-in-boosting-japans-agricultural-exports"> aim to increase Japanese agricultural exports from 922. 3 billion JPY (about $8. 5 billion) found in 2020 to 2 trillion JPY (about $18. 6 billion) by 2025, and after that 5 trillion JPY (about $46. 1 billion) in the 2030.

Seche Marche’s goal is to to get easier for farmers to offer their crops to F& B businesses domestically and even overseas.

“We found that not only people in Japan, but also more or less all farmers in Southeast Parts of asia have the same problem in terms of the old supply chain, ” Sugiyama told TechCrunch. “So most people left Deloitte and started our own business to connect stature farmers in Japan, merely farmers in all Asian countries. ”

Secai Marche’s logistics management tech just what differentiates it from other wholesaler platforms. It uses an AI-based algorithm to predict involve based on consumption trends, family vacation products and farmer recommendations, alleged Hayakawa. Secai Marche will run its own warehouse network, so mostly relies on third-party strategies providers for fulfillment, is actually platform assigns orders from the most efficient transportation method.

This allows F& Plan businesses to consolidate order placed from farmers, so they can arrange smaller batches from diverse places without spending more money. Approximately 30% of Secai Marche’s products are shipped to other countries, whilst the rest are sold domestically.

Secai Marche is really reaching out to farmers who want to improve their customer base. About 30% from the products currently come from Eastern farms, 50% from Malaysia and the rest from other ASEAN countries. Sugiyama and Hayakawa said the COVID-19 pandemic affected Secai Marche’s desahogo plans because it originally coming up to enter Singapore this year, sadly had to slow down since they were unable to travel and meet with growers.

On the other hand, a lot of people farmers have started unloading directly to consumers through advertising and marketing like Instagram or Mirc, and have approached Secai Marche for help with fulfillment, logistics, repacking and quality dominate.

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