qZense, an agritech start-up for quality control and management of fresh produce, secures INR 4.5 Cr seed investment led by Venture Catalysts

The platform's IOT-enabled device employs NIR spectroscopy and artificial olfaction to provide real-time insights for quality assessment and management in fresh produce


Mumbai, December 30th, 2020: Venture Catalysts, India's first and largest integrated incubator and accelerator, has recently led INR 4.5 Cr seed investment in qZense Labs, an agritech start-up for quality control and management of fresh produce. The funding round was led by Manish Modi (MD, Mastermind Capital) & VedantLoyalka (Chairman, Curae Health). 9Unicorns, an idea-stage accelerator VC invested in the same round along with participation from other prolific investors like The Chennai Angels, Entrepreneur First, London based VC and Lumis Partners.

Founded in 2019, by RubalChib and Dr SrishtiBatra, qZense aims to transform the Indian fresh food supply chain industry with its end-to-end IOT-based solution for providing quality assessment and management of fresh produce. Around 40% of the fresh, post-harvest produce in the world is lost due to factors such as internal spoilage, low shelf-life, and over-ripening during transportation. Intuition-based, manual decision-making is the leading cause behind this considerable inventory loss and suboptimal margins, making quality assessment and management of fresh food an area of concern in the retail market. This is where qZense enters the picture.

The start-up solves the problem by providing a non-destructive and accurate qualitative grading of fresh foods across the supply chain to food businesses and retailers. Its innovative technology captures the internal quality of food by employing NIR and olfactory senses and machine learning algorithms to provide an accurate analytical assessment of various internal quality parameters. These include ripeness, brix, storage and shelf-life. It also uses a web dashboard to offer real-time insights and alerts regarding the scanned produce.

Speaking on the investment, RubalChib – Founder at qZense, said, "We are glad to partner with Venture Catalysts and The Chennai Angels. Their support will enable us to take another step towards our vision of becoming a one-stop-solution for quality assessment of fresh produce. We will leverage the capital infusion to bolster our expansion plans by scaling the team and accelerating our marketing endeavours."

Dr. Apoorva Ranjan Sharma, Co-founder & President – Venture Catalysts & 9Unicorns, commented, "The digital boom has undeniably put the Indian agritech industry on the map. The space is witnessing new developments every day, each innovation addressing specific pain points in the sector. One such pain point is managing the quality of fresh produce and minimizing its wastage. qZense is aiming to address and resolve this pertinent issue by leveraging the power of digital technology. The founding team's dedication and the start-up's IP are well-positioned to disrupt the market space worth USD 2 billion. We are confident that the start-up will transform the experience of Indian food businesses and retailers for the better."

"This Founding team is very competent with complimentary and highly complex skillsets. We believe that their solutions have the potential to optimize revenues and minimize wastage for all players in the agri food chain. We also see promising large use cases in harvesting of sugarcane and vanilla where non destructive measurement of sugar content will hugely benefit the farmer community", said K Chandran, CEO of The Chennai Angels.

Leveraging its digital platform, qZense aims to empower food businesses and retailers to not only minimize their produce loss but also to determine the optimal margins of freshness. Its software platform offers two products to ensure an effective and seamless delivery of service.The Q-Scan is a handheld scanning device for grading the internal quality. The second product Q-Log comprises olfactory loggers responsible for measuring the quality of produce during storage and in logistics.

About Venture Catalysts

Venture Catalysts is India's first integrated incubator. It invests $250K – $1.5 Million in early stage start-ups that have potential to create enduring value for over a long period of time. Venture Catalysts brings a lethal combination of Capital, Mentoring and Business Network to help investee companies to succeed. Their innovation provides value to start-ups through its extensive angel network, funding, community, services and co-working facility.

About 9Unicorns

9Unicorns is India's First Accelerator VC providing acceleration support & seed funding to early-stage start-ups. The funding can be provided up to $100K per start-up in the first round, and may invest further $500K-$2Mn in successive rounds with its co-investors. From the idea stage to the angel stage, it supports start-ups across various themes & sectors.

9Unicorns' strength & focus is to provide a hands-on support ecosystem for start-ups, beyond capital. 9Unicorns, besides investment, opens doors to the startupsfor access to a wide network of successful founders, category-leaders, CXOs of large corporations, seasoned angel investors & partners of global VC funds. Every portfolio company receives acceleration support for 3 months & post-investment support of 18 months.

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