ProducePay, an eLab alumni (Class of 2015), closed a $43 million Series C funding round this spring. This latest round of funding brings ProducePay, a fintech leader in the fresh produce industry, to over $300 million raised in debt and equity funding since it launched in 2014. The company plans to use the new capital to invest in technology development and infrastructure, grow its direct sales team, and further expand operations throughout Latin America.
The startup, founded by Cornell alumni Pablo Borquez Schwarzbeck MBA ’15, provides growers with pre-harvest funding, connects growers and distributors through a trusted supply chain, and produces daily market reports. Since its inception, the company has financed over $3 billion in fresh produce across 12 countries in North and South America.
The funding round was led by G2 Venture Partners, an investment firm focused on companies driving sustainable transformation in traditional industries, as well as the International Finance Corporation and IDB Invest, a member of the Inter-American Development Bank Group. Other participants in the round included current investors Anterra Capital and Coventure and new investors Astanor Ventures, IGNIA, and Finistere.
“The global fresh produce market is opaque, fragmented, and dominated by manual processes, and these obstacles make it difficult for growers and distributors to thrive,” said Borquez Schwarzbeck, CEO. “We remove these pain points to provide transparency, predictability, and fairness for both growers and distributors throughout the entire produce value chain, from seed to sale.”
Borquez Schwarzbeck grew up expecting to run the farm that’s been in his family for four generations. However, his entrepreneurial spirit led him to Cornell University’s Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, where ProducePay was transformed from an idea into reality with the help of the eLab and the rest of Cornell’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
“I got swept up by the entrepreneurship world at Cornell. In truth, the entire eLab program and its staff were key to our success,” said Borquez Schwarzbeck in a 2019 Cornell alumni profile. “The environment at Cornell was crucial to my ability to do the necessary research and take my idea to a pitch, and my pitch to a business.”
As one of the largest players in North and South America’s fresh producer market, ProducePay continues to climb. The company, which saw revenue double in 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic, is on a mission to bring transparency, predictability, and fairness to the fragmented and opaque $300 billion global fresh produce market.
“ProducePay is uniquely positioned to address social and economic inequalities in the global produce market by directly improving the livelihoods of those most historically disadvantaged by the food system,” said George Powlick, Venture Partner at Astanor Ventures.
“Through continued growth and development across Latin America, ProducePay promises a more just and equitable future of food.”