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Friday, January 27, 2023

SoftBank-backed Tridge, a Korean platform that matches food farming buyers and sellers, raises $37.2 million Series D at a valuation of $2.7 billion – londonbusinessblog.com

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Supply chain disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine leads to higher costs of goods and services, affecting not only the industrial sector (e.g. semiconductors), but also the agricultural sector. Global food prices have fallen for three months in a row, but still remain relatively high year on year compared to last year the report of 2022 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

South Korean startup Trig aims to address the issue through its online trading platform that matches global food farming buyers and sellers. The platform helps from research to ordering and enables buyers to purchase their food and agricultural products at reasonable prices in more than 150 countries. Sellers can also diversify their sales channels and find buyers (at the right time) for perishable foods.

Tridge said Thursday it has secured $37.2 million (50 billion won) in a Series D financing round against a $2.7 billion back-valuation. The latest financing, led by South Korean private equity firm DSAsset, brings Tridge’s total funding to $111.7 million since its founding in 2015.

The new valuation represents approximately 440%, or 5.4x, up from Tridge’s Postmoney Valuation of $500 Million in July 2021 when it raised $60 million in its Series C from Korean venture capital firm Forest Partners.

Tridge says the valuation has skyrocketed in about a year as it has generated revenue in Tridge’s fulfillment services business since September 2021 after raising its Series C round. Tridge, which had less than $7.4 million (10 billion won) in sales last year, now generates between $15 million and $23 million in sales per month, according to the company.

The fulfillment solution serves as an intermediary for more than 15,000 agricultural products, enabling buyers to purchase and deliver on time. In addition, more than 100,000 suppliers in 150 countries can sell their food and agricultural products on the Tridge platform. The companies market intelligence, Launched in 2020, it provides food supply chain analysis and market reports of agricultural products and commodities such as apples, strawberries, tomatoes, avocados, black peppercorns, coconut, garlic, seafood and coffee beans. Tridge owns data on approximately 15,000 agricultural products with 50,000 price updates. (The company claims it has collected more than 1 trillion data points in total.) That means users can check current and past wholesale prices, volume, and market share of every agricultural product that includes Tridge.

“Now there are many actual transactions [on Tridge’s platform] occurs in many countries, including the US, Brazil, Turkey, India, Vietnam, Australia, Tanzania, the Netherlands and Canada,” Hoshik Shin, founder and CEO of Tridge, told londonbusinessblog.com. “Sales have been on the rise since September last year.”

Shin noticed information asymmetry between buyers and sellers of food agriculture in the commodities market in 2012 when he struggled to supply 60,000 tons of coal to Korean and Japanese steel companies in his capacity as a commodity investor at an investment bank. After paying a higher price for the coal due to the lack of transparency and information, Shin established Tridge to address this problem.

“Tridge is trying to solve problems such as the collapse of the global supply chain and its deterioration,” Shin said. “With this investment, we will accelerate our overseas expansion plans.”

Tridge claims it has 447,786 users today, up from 343,401 users in June 2021. The startup’s customers range from farmers to global retailers, including Costco, Kellogg’s, Walmart, Nestle, Dole, Sysco, Lotte Mart, Mitsui & Co., Carrefour and Indofood.

Customer numbers naturally increased as demand for platforms like Tridge increased in the agricultural sector during the coronavirus pandemic that limited travel and face-to-face meetings, the company said.

Tridge plans to use the newly insured capital to launch new services, invest in its technology and further expand its overseas business, focusing on the US, Europe and other countries such as Turkey, Brazil, India, Vietnam and Tanzania, Shin said. Previous lenders have included SoftBank Ventures Asia and Activant Capital.

Headquartered in Seoul, the company currently employs approximately 600 people and has offices in 45 countries around the world, including the US and Europe.

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