The next time you open a bottle of wine, take a bite of a juicy tomato, or even grab a sandwich at a restaurant, you’ll notice that the bottle was made by a tiny lab in a rural area of Mexico.
The company, Agua Zarca, has built a reputation for producing high-quality products with minimal resources, and it has been working to make the same for the next generation of farmers, as well.
Agua Zaparca has raised $6.6 million in funding from investors including Google Ventures, Y Combinator, and New Enterprise Associates.
The $3 million round was led by Google Ventures and includes seed funding from Y Combine, and a $2 million Series A round from Digital Asset Partners.
In its latest fundraising round, Aguastar raised $7.5 million from Andreessen Horowitz, and plans to use that money to further expand its operations and to improve the food supply chain.
The Mexican company has a growing presence in the United States, where it has expanded its production capacity to produce more than 500,000 pounds of tomatoes each year.
“Agua Zapara is a small, humble, and efficient company that is rapidly expanding,” said Richard Pfeiffer, a partner at New Enterprise and the co-founder of New Enterprise Ventures.
“They are the perfect candidate to become a leader in the global food supply system.”
The new investment will allow Agua to increase production of tomatoes from an average of one million pounds a year to three million pounds, and grow its manufacturing capacity to 300,000 tons a year, Pfeiffs said.
The investment in Agua will allow the company to build its plant in the town of Bajua, which is about 20 miles south of San Luis Potosi, Mexico.
Pfeitzers said the company has also set up a logistics center to provide goods to other farmers, including farmers in the region who may not be able to access the same quality of services that Agua provides.
“There are farmers who are growing tomatoes, but not the tomatoes that we are producing,” Pfeifers said.
“We are going to make it a better environment for them to grow tomatoes.”
Pfeffers said Agua is committed to the health of the local economy and will use its newfound cash to invest in research, training, and education.
“It’s important to know that the world is changing and that we have to change to meet the demands of the future,” Pffes said.
Aguas current focus is on growing and processing high-value varieties of tomatoes in Mexico, including the Chedgar and the Tabasco varieties, and developing more specialized tomatoes, Pffesser said.
But the company also plans to make high-yield, high-volume, and low-sugar tomatoes available to other regions of the world.
The team has also created a network of local distributors, which will allow for distribution to markets in Asia and Latin America, where tomatoes are grown.
“With the help of these distributors, we can sell to different regions of Mexico and the world, where the production is not as expensive,” Pfdffers added.
The Agua team is currently growing tomatoes in a 1,400-square-foot warehouse in Bajus town, where they will grow tomatoes in batches of five to eight.
“The first batch is ready to be shipped to the market and then we’ll start growing the next batch, the next two batches, and so on,” Pfleisser said, adding that the first shipment of tomatoes will be delivered to a warehouse in Mexico City.
Aguez has plans to grow more than 30,000 tomatoes a year in the future, and will also grow lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, and herbs.
Agues plan to build the company into a global brand, and Pfeifer said it has plans for distribution in Europe and the United Kingdom.
Aguing will continue to expand its food production capacity, Pfleesser added.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am to see Agua’s brand grow to be so large and so successful,” Pfiffer said in a statement.
“Our goal is to have Agua be a leader and a leader is a very big part of our success.”
Agua currently has a total of about 700 employees and about 60 employees in the U.S. It has also opened two facilities in the New York and San Diego areas, as it ramps up production of the Tabazco and Chedgars varieties.
Pffffers and Pflieffer said they plan to open a third facility in the near future in Mexico.
“Once we get started, we will be able expand our production capacity with a much larger capacity and also with better infrastructure and equipment,” Pfliffer added, “which will also be a benefit to the local farmer.”
Aguatas first batch of tomatoes was produced in September, and the company hopes to deliver