With a multi-million-dollar Series A round, fruit and veggie-oriented edtech fundraising fim Farmraiser is giving new meaning to the term fresh funding.
The Richmond, Virginia-based company, which was headquartered in Crystal City until early last year, offers platform that’s designed to provide a new way for students to raise money for schools. Instead of traditional methods like selling candy bars and magazines, students can sell items like fresh produce, flowers and wreaths from local vendors. Schools can also sell their own products, such as clothing, and host larger crowdfunding projects on the platform, which is built using Ruby on Rails.
FarmRaiser declined to share the exact amount of the raise but said it’s a seven-figure investment, led by Richmond’s 1219 Capital. The company has previously raised angel and bridge rounds from DC investors including Ray Grochowski of Latham and Watkins and Jim Epstein of EFO Capital.
The round follows a period of strong growth. Since Farmraiser’s founding in 2015, CEO Mark Abbott said that the company has grossed over $5 million on the site from users. It’s also on track to increase sales by 100% from pre-pandemic by the end of 2021, largely from growth in the fourth quarter.
“We wanted to raise enough to give us the very fast growth that we know we’re capable of, and that’s what we’re seeing now,” Abbott told Technical.ly.
With the funding, the company will be expanding its platform and increasing its 10-employee team by 40%. It also allowed the firm to promote its senior management team to cofounder status, making it a majority woman and BIPOC-owned company, Abbott said.
FarmRaiser is planning to expand its platform with offerings for more than just schools.
“Our own technology is great for FarmRaiser, but as it turns out, building a SaaS platform is something that other folks might be able to use,” Abbott said. “So we’re not saying too much about it, but we have big plans for the next year and there’ll be new products rolling out very shortly.”
FarmRaiser’s growth comes amid a huge year for edtech in the DMV, with companies like MPOWER Financing and Class Technologies taking home huge venture capital rounds, Blackboard signing a merger and the expansion of startups such as Words Liive. As schools go more and more digital as the pandemic goes on, Abbott thinks the industry will only continue to boom, even with tools like this that go beyond remote learning,
“In this space of edtech, you’re only going to see more adaptation and more interesting products coming out as a result of [the pandemic],” Abbott said. “And that’s reflected in, and it’s been heading this way even pre-CVOID,…the kind of VC investment and private equity investment in the edtech space.”-30-