A look at the Agri Start-ups of India

4 Feb, 2019 / mvsblog

With global warming and depleting water resources to feed the fields, yields from farming lands in India have been dwindling. Though India is the largest producer of pulses in the world, the pulse crop yield (659 kg/ha) was the lowest among BRICS countries in 2014. Agricultural growth in India has been fairly unpredictable over the past decade, ranging from 5.8% in 2005-06 to 0.4% in 2009-10 and -0.2% in 2014-15. 

Technology, which is the key to all things disruption, is also getting fast intertwined with agriculture as a number of agri start-ups are coming up to solve India’s farming-related problems. The total funding in Agritech startups in India has grown from $46.1 Mn 2017 to $66.6 Mn in 2018 (According to Inc42 Datalabs). The National Agriculture Market (eNAM), a pan-India electronic trading portal envisioned to create a unified national market for agricultural commodities which aims to eliminate middlemen and help farmers realize better prices for their produce. However, there are many issues.

We must understand that the opportunity is big. We are talking about feeding 1/6th of humanity.

Here are the Agri Start-ups to watch out for in India

  1. Agri-analytics start-up AgNext Technologies apparently has cost-effective and unique technology that can offer tremendous savings to agribusinesses and affiliated growers both at pre- and post-harvest stages by improving quality and traceability across the agri value chain. AgNext was founded by Taranjeet Singh Bhamra and Mrigank Sharad in 2016. Both co-founders are graduates from IIT-Kharagpur in agricultural and food engineering.
  2. AgroStar, a Pune-based m-commerce start-up that sells agricultural inputs directly to farmers, has established itself as one of the leaders in the agritech space in India especially after it raised the highest funding for an agritech start-up in the country in 2017. AgroStar is trying to solve the last-mile logistics problem in rural India so as to enable better delivery of services. It has boosted the deliveries done by its own field team (as against using an intermediary like India Post) to make sure the packages are delivered on time.
  3. NinjaCart connects farmers to end retailers such as grocery stores, supermarkets, and restaurants which buy fruits and vegetables. The start-up also manages a logistics network, enabling the pickup and drop of produce. The Bengaluru-based start-up has a sourcing network of more than 3,000 farmers across south India and transports fresh produce from farm to about 4,000 retailers in less than 12 hours of picking on a daily basis. NinjaCart primarily operates in Bengaluru, Chennai, and Hyderabad with a team of more than 750 people. . 
  4. Agriculture supply chain start-up Crofarm, (2016), buys fresh fruits and vegetables directly from farmers and supplies them to online and offline retailers. It services more than 100 small and medium retailers through its multiple distribution centres and claims wastage of less than 5% in its supply chain as compared to average wastage of 50% in fruits and vegetables throughout the supply chain in the country. Crofarm primarily operates in Delhi-NCR and has a network of farmers across UP, Haryana, and Delhi. The start-up hopes to reduce the menace of middlemen and streamline processes in the agricultural sector, which is largely unorganised.
  5. Following the global trend world of exploring the medicinal benefits of cannabis, the Bombay Hemp Company (Boheco) is carrying out R&D, product development, and market creation for cannabis products. The Indian start-up is working on everything from hemp clothes to R&D of medicines related to the treatment of breast cancer and epilepsy. The start-up also helps local farmers cultivate their fields by providing optimum seeds, feedback on cultivation techniques, and using new agro-products. It has also partnered with the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for medical research on cannabis.
  6. Stellapps, an Internet of Things (IoT) start-up that operates in the dairy space got the prestigious Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on board as an investor in 2018. It was initially incubated at the rural technology business incubator in IIT Madras, monitors the quantity and quality of milk, storage facilities, creates wearable devices for tracking cattle health, and provides infrastructure for housing cattle. The start-up does this by using technology such as IoT and data analytics while acquiring data via sensors that are embedded in milking systems, animal wearables, etc.
  7. Bengaluru-based CropIn’s flagship product, SmartFarm, enables big companies to map out the supply chain as well as provide real-time updates on sowing, weather patterns, pests, etc, to farmers who have smartphones and internet connectivity. From crop planting to harvesting, SmartFarm monitors the field and weather and, based on that, sends an action plan to the farmer. CropIn is also working with the Karnataka government to digitise farmer producer organisations and with the Bihar and Madhya Pradesh governments on the climate resiliency programme to help farmers fight climate change.
  8. Bengaluru-based Aarav Unmanned Systems (AUS) has developed its own commercial-grade drones with the first indigenous PPK-enabled drone — INSIGHT-PPK — in India. According to the founders, the PPK drone is three times more accurate and two times faster than most commonly used solutions available in the market. The startup provides accurate 3D representations of the terrain surface which can transform and change the way decisions are made in agriculture.
  9. Indore-based agritech start-up Gramophone, started by IIT Kharagpur graduates Nishant Vats and Tauseef Khan, is a one-stop solution for all kinds of inputs on farming. The start-up provides assistance to farmers via its toll-free helpline number — farmers can contact them by just giving a missed call and can get solutions to all farming-related problems. They can also buy agricultural products such as seeds, crop protection, nutrition, etc, directly from the company’s mcommerce platform.
  10. Ugaoo.com is a gardening and farming platform launched in late 2015 that focuses on the gardening and landscaping market. The start-up has been working closely with farmers and provides them with high-quality organic seeds, among other products, through its online platform. It is reaching out to consumers in Tier 2 cities like Surat, Nashik, and Kochi to tap into the growing market potential in these cities. It targets farmers who have been exposed to the latest technology and are familiar with using apps.
  11. Established in 2014, EM3 Agri offers farm services and machinery on rent to farmers. The start-up provides pay-per-use farm services for every step of the cultivation process, including land development, land preparation, seeding, sowing, planting, crop care, harvesting, and post-harvest field management. EM3 has partnered with the Rajasthan government to offer smallholder farmers access to capital equipment, such as tractors, harvesters, and advanced farm implements.
  12. Agricx provides quick, accurate, portable, and easy to use image based quality assessment tool that takes the subjectivity out of quality assessment and makes every transaction smoother and loss-less. Agricx currently offers a solution to warehouses and enterprise clients with a plan to expand across the food production supply chain. This agritech start-up from Thane, Maharashtra helps specialist across country procure their requirements in the most efficient way through the use of technology.
  13. Gold Farm is an Agri-Tech start-up, based out of Bangalore, India. The company offers a mobile app based tractor booking platform for farmers in India. They also provide solar water pumps for farmers working in power deficit regions in India. Gold Farm has offices in Bangalore, Kolar, Hubli, Coimbatore and Trichy. 
  14. AgroWave is basically a Supply chain startup in India act as a mobile e-vendor of fruits & vegetables that serves small and medium businesses directly from farmers.  
  15. FASAL, is an agri-tech platform, developed by Wolkus Technology Solutions. It is an AI-powered IoT platform for Agriculture ecosystem that records a variety of growing conditions on the farm. It then uses artificial intelligence and data science to make on-farm predictions, before delivering the insights anywhere on any device including (iOS, Android, Tablet and web)  
  16. Aibono pioneers the use of Real-time Intelligence and Agri 4.0 to solve this intractable problem with next-generation agri-data science and artificial intelligence. Aibono’s Real-time Precision Agriculture Solutions stabilizes and increases yields by 2x by monitoring over 50 farm variables, and the Predictive Supply Engine controls the Planting-Material and Just-in-time harvests to precisely match supply and demand, thereby doubling price realization and income for the farmer.  
  17. Intello Labs is India’s most awarded AgriTech start-up, that has developed computer vision based solutions that use images as key data for deriving insights and actionable recommendations. The company is working on the quality grading of commodities, pest/disease detection in crops, yield estimation, etc. all through image-based analysis and AI.  
  18. FarmLink is a data science and technology company with a passion for helping farmers. Their focus is to drive increased adoption of high-quality data and precision agriculture tools to improve productivity, profitability and sustainability of farm operations around the world.  
  19. Gobasco employs real-time data analytics on data-streams coming from multiple sources across the country aided with AI-optimized automated pipelines to dramatically increase the efficiency of the current agri supply-chain. T
  20. TESSOL (Thermal Energy Service Solutions Pvt Ltd) is a unique innovation-driven venture focused on solving the temperature-controlled food and pharma distribution problem in India. Positioned itself as a pioneer in the cold chain space and it is currently a leading supplier of last mile solutions to the e-commerce segment.
  21. Happy Hens is a start-up by Manjunath M (a Business Graduate and textile designer hailing from an agricultural family) and Ashok Kannan (a differently abled person with no formal education). Eighty percent of India’s eggs come from caged hens. Happy Hens Founders introduced the concept of Free range eggs and they have the support of the Native Angels Network and is based out of Mullipatti.
  22. Farmers Fresh Zone from Kochi by Pradeep P S represents the union of farmers and the collapsing agricultural sector India. They ensure that customers get pure fresh and non-toxic vegetables and fruits. Each farmer is also being rewarded for their work.
  23. myHarvest Farms helps urban families experience farming and get fresh, naturally grown food straight from farm to their home. Through community farming and farm subscriptions, they are making it better for families (safe , chemical free food) and farmers (go organic & improve livelihood).

Do comment and write to me about other interesting Agri Start-ups that you know of.

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