The company, which follows a patented Naturoponic farming approach, was founded by Arjun Balaji, a former partner at McKinsey, and Vishal Narayanaswamy, who after consulting and startup stints overseas, came back to India to launch among hydroponic farms.
“Given the delicate and perishable nature of veggies, we realised that consistently high quality and safety cannot be delivered through just direct sourcing from farmers or by offering delivery services to consumers. It requires farming approaches that yield significantly higher source quality, and an F&V centric supply ops that is radically lean and just-in-time,” said Balaji.
Gourmet Garden claims it owns the only patent in the space of soil-less naturoponic farming in India. Vegetables are grown in greenhouses, using non-GMO seeds and without any contamination from soil, water or pesticides, it said.
“Indian consumers are rapidly becoming more conscious about the quality and safety of food but there are no trusted home-grown F&V brands available in India. At the same time, farmers struggle to manage the variabilities in quality, yield, and access to markets. Gourmet Garden’s propositions are beneficial to both sides of the supply chain,” Nao Murakami, founder at Incubate Fund India said.
The company plans to expand to Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi, scale up its team, and leverage tech and automation for business operations with the freshly raised capital.
“We harvest the produce only after receiving orders, something we can do only because of our local farming and F&V centric supply operations,” said Narayanaswamy.
Currently, more than 17,000 households are customers of Gourmet Garden in Bangalore with over 70% of revenue coming from repeat customers.
“Gourmet Garden plugs into a very important consumer need, specially in the post-Covid world, where quality and traceability of fresh produce isn’t a luxury anymore,” said Anshu Prasher, General Partner, Whiteboard Capital.