India-based impact investment firm Aavishkaar has made its second bet in Sri Lanka by investing in logistics solutions provider Grasshoppers (Pvt.) Ltd.
Last year, Aavishkaar Frontier Fund invested in Sri Lankan firm Ma’s Tropical Foods.
The investment in Grasshoppers is the fifth investment by Aavishkaar’s Frontier Fund, which is a regional fund through which Aavishkaar invests in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Indonesia.
Grasshoppers plans to use this latest funding to set up an islandwide distribution network that would provide the local communities participating in the business model with income opportunities, Aavishkaar said in a statement.
“We have seen disruptive innovations in the logistics sector by tech-enabled players in other markets and are very bullish on the success of Grasshoppers in Sri Lanka,” said Aavishkaar partner Sanchayan Chakraborty.
Launched last year, Grasshoppers was founded by Dulith Herath, founder of ecommerce firm Kapruka.com, and Harsha Liyanage, founder of Sarvodaya Fusion, a not-for-profit organisation promoting IT education across Sri Lanka. Grasshoppers has developed a proprietary technology stack that facilitates interactions within its logistics supply chain and provides features like traceability of goods through its network to its clients.
“I see e-commerce as a goldmine and Grasshoppers as the mining tool that we give to all entrepreneurs. We hope this tool enables more people to join the e-commerce revolution as we have taken away a major barrier for start-ups, that of timely delivery of the product,” said Herath, who is also Grasshoppers CEO.
Aavishkaar is a venture capital (VC) firm focused on early-stage venture capital investments in enterprises working with low-income population in rural and underserved markets. Since its inception in 2002, it has made more than 50 investments across sectors.
The VC firm has raised five funds and manages around US $ 200 million in capital. Aavishkaar Frontier Fund was launched in 2013 and had earlier backed US- and Indonesia-based seafood firm North Atlantic Inc. and Bangladesh-based payment solutions provider CloudWell Ltd.