Let us talk about funding. The startups go through various rounds of funding in order to expand and move forward. It is through these rounds of funding that the actual image and the position of the startup come into the eyes of the watchers. The investors having loads of money keep a tab of the startups and businesses which are doing good and which have potential in the future, they then invest accordingly.
The COVID 19 had a disastrous impact on the economy. With the lockdown imposed nationwide and the people, all stuck inside their homes, the businesses and the startups were negatively affected to an extent that many of them had to permanently shut down their operations.
The economy and the businesses have not yet been able to recover from the harsh effects of the COVID 19, even after the opening up of the economy. It has been estimated that the economy of the country will take a long time before it is back to normal.
We are here to discuss the funding of another startup that took place recently. The startup, BharatAgri has raised USD 6.5 million, as announced on September 16, 2021. This round of funding was the Series A round of funding and was led by Omnivore.
The other participants of the round were the existing investors- India Quotient and 021 Capital. The startup aims to use the funds received in the expansion of the subscriber base beyond Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. It also plans to use the funds in accelerating the growth of its inputs marketplace and make some improvements and refine the existing technology which is being offered by the startup.
The startup before this round of funding in total had raised more than USD 2.5 million from 021 Capital, India Quotient, Sachin Oswal, Ajay Prabhu, Farid Ahsan, and many others.
Funding of the new startup
It was founded in 2017 by the alumni of IIT Madras, Sai Gole, and Siddharth Dialani. BharatAgri is engaged in offering farmers an application-based platform for AI-based agronomy services on a paid subscription basis.
This eventually results in increasing the income of the farms through the systematic implementation of scientific farming techniques. It is a personalized farming solution for more than 140 million farmers.
The features provided by the startup on its application for the help of the farmers are-
Personalized farm solution– The startup understands the farmer and his farm. It provides the farmer with an improved crop production capacity with an advanced crop schedule that will be specific to the farm of the concerned farmer.
Chat with BharatAgri Crop Expert– This feature allows the farmers to share their crop-related issues with BharatAgri Doctor so that they can be assisted with the solution of the expert. The doctor is also available on a video call.
Satellite Imagery-based Farm Mapping- This feature provides critical crop health information at appropriate times and this ensures that with regular monitoring, the farmer can grow a healthy crop.
The services provided by the startup can help in increasing the productivity of the farm. Such services are as follows-
Weather-based Dynamic Advisory– This feature is available only on the BharatAgri application. This service is engaged in providing actionable agricultural information which will be based on the changing climate.
Best in Practice Crop Advisory- With this service available exclusively for BharatAgri users, it provides complete security of the farm from sowing to harvesting. It provides the best agricultural advice which can be put into practice for crop management. This advice is normally provided through Smart Krushi Book.
Excellent Agricultural Information- This service makes sure that the farmers get the experience of smart farming, where it provides Smart tips, great Juggad, and special articles on the latest farming technologies.
Added Benefits for Farmers- This service provided by the startup adds benefits to the farmers. A soil testing facility is provided which makes sure that the farmers are made aware of the number of fertilizers that are required for the farm. Even there is a Water testing facility that helps in determining the water suitability at a particular farm.
The mission of the startup is to bridge the gap between technology and agriculture in India, with an aim to reach out and help the maximum Indian farmers.
The startup is engaged in supporting the farmers to “Grow Efficient, Grow More” through the systematic implementation of scientific techniques by providing critical information at appropriate times and regular monitoring. The startup claims to understand the requirements of each farmer and it believes that every farmer deserves a chance- the chance of a successful future with technology.
The algorithm of the startup collects data on more than 30 critical parameters in order to help the farmers with the customized recommendations and advice across many crops, including grains, pulses, fruits, and vegetables.
Farmers get fully digital and automated services at an affordable price that provides insights at the correct time and regular monitoring of crops is done. According to the startup, it has witnessed and experienced 20 times growth in paid subscription sales with a renewable rate of 65%.
The startup currently has more than 33,000 active users and is planning to expand its subscription base to 150,000 by March 2022.
The farmers on the platform are distributed evenly depending on the type of crops they are growing- Horticulture crops and Commodity Crops. On average, farmers pay close to USD 8 which is equivalent to INR 600 per acre for a six-month subscription. The startup is in competition from Nofence, Cropin, FarmLogs, SourceTrace, and many others.
About the founders of the startup
Sai Gole is the co-founder and the CEO of BharatAgri. She has done an integrated course in Bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Indian Institute of Madras, where she has been the Student Manager for Center of Innovation, IIT Madras.
She has also worked as a Project Manager in ITC Limited. In IIT Madras, she was selected among 5 students for a fully-funded visit to Japan for “Jenesys” Technical Exchange Program. She has a patent issued under her name for “ Device and Method for Quantifying Blood Hemoglobin Content”.
Siddharth Dialani is the co-founder and the COO of BharatAgri. He is also a student of the Indian Institute of Madras, where he pursued a Dual Degree (Btech+Mtech) in Biotechnology. He has been a founding member of Rotaract Club, IIT Madras. He has been the Assistant Manager of Operations at Housinh.com. He is a gold medalist in Table Tennis and has been awarded as the “Most Enthusiastic Technical Affairs Secretary”.
About the Agritech Industry
Agritech, which comes from two words, Agriculture and Technology, simply means the use of technology so that there is more production with less input, in order to make the process of farming more efficient, ranging from field monitoring to the food supply chain.
The agritech industry in India is a booming one. After fintech and edtech, the agritech industry has been attracting a lot of investors. It is expected that in the next 5 years, the picture of agriculture in the country will be changed by Agritech. The industry with it brings greater investor interest, better infrastructure, sustainable market linkages, and the digital transformation of Agriculture.
A joint study was conducted by Accel Partners and Omnivore, on the post-pandemic agri-landscape of India. The study found that around 85% of the agritech startups of the country across the value chain have witnessed an increase in demand for their products and services during the COVID 19 lockdown.
In 2013, the number of agritech startups in the country was only 43, but today the number has increased to more than 1000. According to the report published by Bain & Company, the investment in the agritech segment has witnessed a CAGR of 35% from private equity and venture capital firms investing USD 329 million in the year 2020 and it is expected that the agritech investments in the country could increase to USD 35 billion by 2025.
What has been said about the deal?
Siddharth Dialani, the co-founder of the startup made a statement saying that three years ago, it couldn’t be imagined that people of rural India would be paying monthly subscription fees to Netflix and Youtube, which has become normal today.
He further said that BharatAgri has made the same possible for farmers that they are willing to pay subscription fees since they have started seeing so much value in the advisory platform. He further added that in the next few months, the startup will be expanding its platform to provide other agricultural services, starting from the direct-to-farmer Agri input supply.
Mark Kahn, the Managing Partner at Omnivore said that BharatAgri is the only Agri startup in the country, which is able to successfully monetise a purely digital product for farmers. He further said that with the help of the startup the services will be available at the affordable prices, which eventually can help the farmers of doubling their incomes.
This startup has bought in an innovation and change, which will eventually bring in the difference. We wish the startup a bright future and a success.
Edited by Sanjana Simlai.