Upaya Social Ventures and Beyond Capital Invest in ZooFresh Foods to Benefit Smallholder Farmers in India

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Capital to support the expansion of ZooFresh’s supply network of marginal farmers and rural retail outlets to bring farm-fresh meats to underserved communities in Odisha

"We were first attracted to ZooFresh because they are operating in a largely neglected geography,” says Kate Cochran, CEO of Upaya Social Ventures.

Upaya Social Ventures and Beyond Capital are pleased to announce recent investments in ZooFresh Foods, a social enterprise based in Odisha, India that connects smallholder farmers with underserved markets to eliminate waste, increase farmer incomes, and enhance consumer access to local meats. ZooFresh Foods leverages innovative supply chain technologies and retail platforms to create an integrated distribution model and enhance the local meat and fish industry in eastern India.

"We were first attracted to ZooFresh because they are operating in a largely neglected geography,” says Kate Cochran, CEO of Upaya Social Ventures. “These are the kinds of businesses Upaya was founded to support."

ZooFresh Foods was founded in 2016 by co-founders Sadananda Satapathy and Ambika Satapathy with the goal of combatting the malnutrition and high unemployment rates prevalent in Western Odisha. ZooFresh sources high-quality products directly from small- scale farmers who, due to their small volumes and distance from large retail centers, are often disconnected from the market. By transporting live chicken and fish to rural retail hubs, ZooFresh provides rural consumers access to fresh, healthy food.

“ZooFresh has the potential to greatly improve the economic status of smallholder producers in East India,” says Eva Yazhari, CEO of Beyond Capital. “This investment demonstrates Beyond Capital’s belief in ZooFresh, its founders, and its vision to provide better-quality products to the people they serve.”

The investments from Beyond Capital and Upaya Social Ventures will be disbursed to ZooFresh in tranches to support the expansion of the company’s farmer supply network and chain of retail outlets.

Upaya Social Ventures (Upaya) creates dignified jobs for the poorest of the poor by building scalable businesses with investment and consulting support. Since 2011, Upaya has supported 16 small and growing businesses in India with investments and expertise, and Upaya’s partner enterprises have created more than 12,000 jobs. With offices in Seattle, Washington and Bangalore, India, Upaya is committed to a goal of helping partners create 15,000 jobs by the end of 2019.

Please visit http://www.upayasv.org for more information.

Beyond Capital is an impact investment fund that invests in for-profit social enterprises throughout India and East Africa. The fund invests in businesses that are focused on greater access to health care, water, sanitation, and energy, as well as food security and financial inclusion, which can increase the quality of life and standard of living for consumers living at the bottom of the economic pyramid. Though the fund seeks market-rate financial returns, Beyond Capital is structured as a nonprofit, which permits the organization to emphasize fidelity to its social mission alongside its financial mandate.

Please visit http://www.beyondcapitalfund.org for more information.

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Heather Soehn

Mathilde Beniflah
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