Funding alert- Agritech startup announced funding of USD 70 million. This sector is showing amazing results
Let us talk about the agritech industry and the funding related to it. India is an agricultural country, with more than 58% of the population of the country being dependent on agriculture for their livelihood. The Gross Value Added by the agricultural sector in the FY 2020 was around USD 276.37 billion.
According to the predictions made, the export of the Indian agricultural industry is set to reach USD 60 billion by the year 2022. The country is also expected to double its agricultural income by the end of the year 2022. There have been rapid advancements and an increase in investments in the agricultural domain in irrigation, cold storage, and warehousing.
But what needs to be observed is that the traditional industry which the Indian agriculture shows have seen an improvement. We are seeing an introduction of modern technology in the old agriculture, thus naming it the agritech industry.
Agritech, which has been derived from agriculture and technology, is defined as the use of innovations in technology to increase yield, quality, efficiency, and profitability.
The methods used by agritech are- Robots, Big Data, AI, and many others. The agritech industry of the country in spite of the current penetration being 1%, is growing at such a good rate that it is expected to reach USD 24 billion by the end of the year 2025.
Even the Government of India is doing the initiative to help modernize this industry. The honorable Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi, has signed deals and agreements with big US companies like Cisco, Microsoft, Amazon to help modernize and upgrade the Indian agricultural sector.
He has also signed agreements with Indian companies like Jio Platforms, ITC, ESRI India Technology, and Patanjali Organic Research Institute.
Let us now have a conversation on the funding of an agritech startup that has taken place recently.
Announcement of funding of an agritech startup
The startup, AgroStar, has received funding of USD 70 million, as announced on December 07, 2021. This round of funding was the Series D round of funding and was led by Evolvence, Schroders Capital, Hero Enterprise, and CDC.
The other participants of this round of funding were the existing investors of the startup, Aavishkaar Capital, Accel, Bertelsmann, Chiratae Ventures, and Rabo Frontier Ventures.
Prior to this round of funding, the Series C round of funding had taken place in March 2017, where the startup had raised USD 27 million. This is after the gap of whooping 33 months that a new round of funding has taken place.
The startup is planning to utilize the funds raised in the expansion of the product and business lines. It is also planning to use a portion of funds raised in hiring and strengthening omnichannel strategies.
This round of funding has come up to be one of the largest rounds of funding in the agritech startups. DeHaat, which is a Patna and Gurugram-based agritech startup, in October, had raised USD 115 million in a Series D round of funding.
This round of funding was the largest round of funding by the agritech startup of India. Ninjacart, which is backed by Tiger Global had raised USD 90 million in its Seris C round of funding in October.
About the newly funded startup
The startup, AgroStar, was founded in the year 2013 by Shardul Sheth and Sitanshu Sheth and has its headquarters in Pune. It was started as a missed call knowledge service for farmers.
But now with time, the startup has evolved into a full-stack platform for farmers and is engaged in providing advisory solutions in farms and Agri inputs through a combination of online and offline channels. It is of the mission “Helping Farmers Win”.
The startup is engaged in –
Helping Farmers Win– With Progressive farm solutions, powered by data and technology
Leading the Indian AgTech Solution– Through end-to-end solutions for Indian farmers.
Working for Impact– Touching lives of Indian farmers.
The startup is building the largest and the most impactful agri-solutions platforms to provide end-to-end solutions for Indian farmers.
The solutions create a significant impact on the lives of the farmers by helping them in increasing their crop yield, reducing their input expenditure, and helping grow better quality output which has the potential to fetch them a better price.
Culture of the newly funded agritech startup
The culture of the startup is to unite as a team to bring out the best in each one of the team members and create the winning team of AgroStars. The following are the values that are followed by the startup-
We Care– With compassionate leadership, the startup cares for its farmers and bring smiles to their face. It also cares for each other as a team.
Innovate Continuously- This is done to make everything better. The startup encourages ideas from everywhere to improve customer service, processes, policies, products, and culture.
Deliver 7-star service– This is done for the delight of the customer. The startup claims to understand the external and internal customers well by listening to them and it continuously tries to WOW them.
Collaborate as One- The startup believes in trust and mutual respect. It believes in providing equal opportunities to all, with no bias. It plays as one team- Team AgroStar.
Move Fast– The startup believes in moving fast with a constant sense of urgency. It is always in a hustle mode and has a sharp focus on its goals and timeline. Despite having many hurdles, the startup moves fast.
Follow 80/20– The startup believes in prioritizing things. It is a strong believer that time is a valuable source. So, the startup keeps its focus on the top 20% of the critical deliverables.
Practice Humility– The startup believes in being genuine and helpful. It does not shy away from weakness and welcomes feedback and learning from everyone around them.
Be Positive– The startup believes in keeping the fire burning. It tries to keep positivity high all around and it solves problems with a big smile on its face.
Deliver Results– It aims to follow this with clear direction and motivation. The startup claims that as a team it has a clear understanding of the goals, and it achieves them what maybe. It believes in setting examples to be followed in the future.
Disagree and Commit– It is done in the spirit of helping farmers win. The startup encourages different opinions and yet to commit to one to drive home success in its mission.
Always Work Hard– It believes in the true entrepreneurial spirit. The startup runs the business as its own and never follows shortcuts. If required, it goes above and beyond to turn around everything.
Do more with less– It believes in spending resources with care. It believes that cost is a critical factor and utilizes every resource with utmost care.
Integrity forever– It believes in keeping the name of the brand high even when no one is looking. It will never let any customer down.
The startup has around 1000 offline touchpoints across Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh,Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Rajasthan. It is on the mission to have 5000 touchpoints in the coming few years.
The startup has an Android application, in which it claims that it has more than 5 million downloads. Application is widely used by the farmers to exchange knowledge and buy authentic agri-inputs.
About the founders of the startup
The startup, AgroStar, was founded by Shardul Sheth and Sitanshu Sheth.
Shardul Sheth is the co-founder and the CEO of the startup. He is a Bachelors of Commerce graduate from the University of Mumbai, post which he is an MBA in International Business from Rochester Institute of Technology.
Talking about his previous work experiences, he was an Associate in PwC India. Then he worked at various positions in Best Buy, post which he co-founded AgroStar.
Sitanshu Sheth is the co-founder and the COO of the startup. He is a Bachelor’s in Engineering graduate from the University of Mumbai, post which he is an MBA in Finance and Financial Management Services from S.P. Jain School of Global Management.
He has experience as a consultant in KPMG India, then he was the Promoter and Director at ULink BioEnergy Pvt Ltd, and then he co-founded AgroStar.
The startup is doing great and we wish it nothing but good luck and a bright and successful future ahead.