Thanks to sustainability-minded shoppers, rising demand for locally grown products and initiatives like Rakuten Agriculture that support local farmers, small-scale family farming is increasingly gaining global recognition. The COVID-19 pandemic has also acted as a catalyst, speeding up what could be an agricultural transformation.
There is however one significant challenge that smaller farmers have in common: Establishing an efficient supply chain management system that guarantees professional delivery of fresh produce while also being cost-efficient for both seller and buyer. And in Southeast Asia, fulfilment services and cold-chain logistics are still in the early stages of development, especially for perishable food products.
Secai Marche’s innovative food supply chain infrastructure keeps growing — at a rate of 200% monthly in the Malaysian market.
This is where Secai Marche, a Japan-based B2B platform, steps in to offer an innovative and easy-to-use method for farmers and restaurants to connect, handle and bundle orders, and build up supply-chains locally and internationally. In May 2021, the company announced 150 million JPY (about $1.4 million USD) in pre-Series A funding from Rakuten Ventures and Beyond Next Ventures.
One-stop farmers market
Secai Marche is a B2B farm-direct e-commerce platform that connects passionate farmers and enthusiastic chefs in Southeast Asia. An online shop-like experience allows restaurants to browse through products from all over the region. E-payment and a robust fulfillment system make sure that orders are processed quickly and efficiently.
It’s easier to use than many wholesale platforms, with a dedicated AI even recommending the best products on a seasonal basis and according to consumer trends.
But the biggest differentiator is the direct connection between farmers and food and beverage businesses — and the unique option to consolidate orders from multiple sellers. Secai Marche takes care of sorting, picking, packing and last-mile delivery, as well as quality management, saving time and delivery costs. This also helps to build more economically viable small businesses.
A recipe for success
Secai Marche was founded in 2018 by Ami Sugiyama and Shusaku Hayakawa, combining experience in logistics and agriculture with a supply chain background developed while working in the consulting industry.
Leaving their corporate jobs behind, they started Secai Marche to spend the last three years building up a network of over 130 farmers and 300 restaurants across Malaysia and Japan — with a data and technology-driven platform at the center.
Secai Marche takes care of sorting, picking, packing and last-mile delivery, as well as quality management, saving time and delivery costs. This also helps to build more economically viable small businesses.
Their dedicated approach and understanding of the complex ASEAN market is paying off: Secai Marche’s innovative food supply chain infrastructure keeps growing — at a rate of 200% monthly in the Malaysian market.
Secai Marche will use its pre-Series A funding to continue expanding its fulfilment services, as well as HR and marketing services to support even more farmers and restaurants — and even potentially entering new markets like Thailand or Indonesia. Sugiyama and Hayakawa also have plans to expand their range of products to include seafood, meat and dairy products.
While Secai Marche’s mission is to empower small-scale farms, they also occasionally give consumers direct access to fresh products, as well as specialties that usually don’t make it into the supermarkets.