Connecting restaurants directly to farmers in Latin America

Frubana, a B2B marketplace connecting restaurants to farmers and manufacturers recently raised its $65 million Series B in a round led by GGV Capital with participation from Lightspeed and existing investors including SoftBank, Tiger Global Management and Monashees.

I chose this start-up for the start-up in focus for this week because after having seen the food sourcing process for restaurants in many developing countries such as India, I can see the power of a platform such as Frubana cutting out middle-men to improve speed, logistics and price transparency for both sides of the marketplace: the restaurants and the farmers.

Overview


They are gaining huge traction, but are they truly fulfilling users’ needs?

COVID-19 has seen all of us stuck indoors and dinners and lunches out at restaurants became a thing of the past for most of 2020 and some of 2021.

Whereas it had previously been unthinkable for me to host dinners at my apartment (my cooking skills are limited and I despise getting dressed to hang out in my living room), suddenly I found myself hosting 3–4 times a week (in a socially distant, Harvard-approved setting) at my apartment on campus.

My love affair with food delivery apps, which I had used sporadically outside of work for the first 26 years…


Source: Bumble S-1 filing

Bumble, the women-centric dating app, filed for its Wall Street debut on 15 January 2021. The company has seen strong growth since its founding in 2014, and the app has become a saving grace for many as a way of connecting with others during the pandemic (virtually, of course).

In this article, I have aimed to summarise and unpack the key takeaways from the company’s published S-1 and provided my take on an initial valuation target for the company.

The quick take: the opportunity looks attractive assuming a valuation of c.$7 billion, however, points to consider from an investment perspective…


Jacinda Ardern, source: Governor-General of New Zealand

It is unquestionable that Jacinda Ardern, the 40th Prime Minister of New Zealand, who is not yet 40 herself, has successfully manoeuvred her country through the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite a smattering of new cases a few weeks ago which were quickly contained and are being carefully managed, the country was previously one of the first to declare itself COVID-free while cases are still increasing in a number of other countries around the world.

But it is not only her decisiveness during the pandemic that has led me to religiously brag about her latest accomplishments to anyone who would listen but…


Previously an exclusively government-run industry, climate change and improving inexpensive technological solutions are fostering innovative start-ups harnessing the power of weather data.

Predictive weather tech is becoming ever more important at a hyperlocal level.
Predictive weather tech is becoming ever more important at a hyperlocal level.
Predictive weather tech is becoming ever more important at a hyperlocal level.

Economic losses from weather catastrophes globally were estimated to have exceeded $230bn in 2019, and with global warming and climate change expected to continue to affect all types of weather phenomena, with increasing impact on urbanised areas, the market for accurate weather forecasting has become a critical need in many sectors, from airlines to ride-sharing services to agriculture.

One start-up making waves within the weathertech industry that I recently met is Climacell, whose co-founder, Rei Goffer, walked me through the current problems in the market and how the company is tackling them.

Climacell is a weather intelligence platform which provides…


Recently, one sector I have been particularly intrigued by, and has begun to come up in conversations with female friends frequently, is the female technology industry. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the term Femtech was “coined in 2016 by Ida Tin, a Danish entrepreneur who founded Clue, a period- and fertility-tracking app”. It now broadly refers to “electronic devices, software, or other technology relating to women’s health”.

Setting the stage

Before we dive into the specific start-ups, it’s worthwhile to set the stage.

The key stats:

  1. Just four per cent of…


From check-in to boarding to flying in silence, the constant vigilance was exhausting.

The empty plane from NYC to London

From school trips to holidays in far-flung corners of Asia, I have always enjoyed the feeling of coming home.

Now, at graduate school in the US, I still look forward to the moments I get to return to London. Despite the grey skies and glistening wet roads that welcome me, I am enveloped by the feeling of home and familiar memories as I disembark and make my way through the bustling capital.

But the journey home I made just days ago was harder than I’d ever imagined.

I had spent the last nine months living in Boston, and studying at…


A conversation with Rent the Runway and Jetblack co-founder Jenny Fleiss about starting a business in a recession, incubating businesses within a larger organization and why business school is the perfect opportunity to innovate.

Jenny Fleiss (HBS MBA ’09) knows what it’s like to see friends’ and classmates’ job offers getting rescinded in the run-up to graduation date and a wary job market awaiting those looking to step into traditional Harvard Business School career paths.

But despite all the doom and gloom of the last recession, it was also the moment in which Rent the Runway was born and as Fleiss notes in her recent blog post, the 2009 graduating class “set off a wave of entrepreneurship at Harvard Business School, with more students seeking to disrupt industries and pursue entrepreneurial dreams than ever…


LeverEdge, the brainchild of two HBS students, is continuing to disrupt the world of student loans.

With approximately $1.6 trillion in total debt outstanding and almost $9 billion of new student loans taken out in the last academic year in the United States, LeverEdge is uniquely positioned to capitalize on a substantial growth opportunity.

First covered in the Harbus in Startup Corner (March 2019), the one-year-old company has continued to build on its momentum to take on the student-loan industry in the United States. …


A student finance revolution

In today’s volatile markets, many businesses and individuals are experiencing a cash flow problem. For a business owner, it can be difficult to accurately forecast demand and revenue and hence whether or not the business would be able to meet its obligations even if the business itself has no structural issues. In many ways, student debt can have similar problems.

Tess Michaels (MBA ’20) remembers how her entrepreneurial bug led her to try and solve this problem. But before we explore her current venture, I am keen to learn more about how she got started down this path.

Speaking about…

Asha Tanwar

Aspiring investor and current student at Harvard Business School. Follow her on twitter or instagram: @ashatanwar_

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store