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Here are 5 Indian Agri-tech firms to keep an eye on

by Rishika Choudhury

Date & Time: Sep 13, 2022 3:00 PM

Read Time: 4 minute



Before the current slowdown began to have an impact on India's startup scene, a small number of agri-tech startups were privately valued highly enough to become unicorns the next time they raised a large funding round.

As the slowdown worsens, these startups are digging in and preparing for the long haul. Some, like DeHaat, have made a few course corrections, whereas others, like ReshaMandi, see explosive growth ahead because they have nailed their business model.

The following is a brief look at some of India's most valuable agri-tech startups. Prior to the slowdown, they were regarded as'soonicorns,' or soon-to-be-unicorns, or ventures valued privately at $1 billion. They must now prove their worth.

Ninjacart

Ninjacart is India's largest fresh produce supply chain company that is solving one of the toughest problems in the world through technology. It connect producers of food directly with retailers, restaurants, and service providers using in-house applications that drive end to end operations. Currently, its Supply Chain is equipped to move 1400 tonnes of perishables from farms to businesses, every day, in less than 12 hours.

Ninjacart's mission is to solve fresh produce supply chain problems across India. One of the company's biggest backers is Walmart company Flipkart, as well as Tiger Global, Accel, and Syngenta Group Ventures, as well as entrepreneur and technocrat Nandan Nilekani.

DeHaat

Amrendra Singh, Shyam Sundar, Adarsh Srivastav, and Shashank Kumar, all IIT Delhi, IIM, and NIT alumni, founded DeHaat in 2012. The startup, based in Gurugram and Patna, aims to use technology to help farmers increase their yield.

Today, the technology-based business-to-farmer (B2F) platform provides full-stack agricultural services such as high-quality agricultural input distribution, customised farm advisory, access to financial services, and market linkages for selling their produce.

It offers full-stack agricultural services to farmers, including distribution of high-quality agricultural inputs, customised farm advisory, market linkage to sell produce and access to financial services and insurance.

The company is expanding its last mile network of micro-entrepreneurs and farmers “as per our plan”, Kumar adds, in Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat and Haryana in addition to markets where it’s already operating. The company has 9,000 DeHaat centres serving more than 100,000 villages in over 150 districts. It plans to hit 15,000 centres this fiscal year.

ReshaMandi

ReshaMandi is working to expand the 'farm-to-fashion' platform to sell natural and recycled fibre products in markets such as the United States, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. It has also taken preliminary steps to incorporate African mulberry, a key ingredient in silk production. The company has established a strong technological foundation for quality testing and advisory, and its procurement and sales operations assist farmers in obtaining better prices.

The company is expanding its retail operations to include its own line of apparel, beginning with women's wear; men's and children's clothing will follow soon.

ReshaMandi has opened Asia's second largest cocoon'mandi,' complete with a processing facility and warehouse, which will benefit 30,000 farmers and over 6,000 reelers.

Vegrow

Vegrow is a fruit B2B marketplace backed by Prosus Ventures, Matrix Partners India, Elevation Capital, Lightspeed India, and Ankur Capital. The company aggregates demand and supply in 100 cities and from over 20,000 farmers, including wholesalers, semi-wholesalers, and modern trade and general trade channels.

Vegrow is expanding its community advisory network into tier 3 cities and towns in order to bring the power of the internet to farmers in over 400 production pockets across the country. It processes more than 200 tonnes of fruits per day and increased sales 15 times in the year to July, with gross margins of about 20%.

Absolute

Absolute is the most recent Indian agri startup to reach the $500 million mark, having announced a total of $100 million in recent funding rounds from investors including Sequoia Capital India, Alpha Wave Global, and Tiger Global in May. A global trading platform that has reached 12 countries so far.

One of the ways Absolute wants to raise farmers’ incomes is by helping them adopt precision farming (practices based on scientific information). Absolute is developing such solutions by combining AI, IoT sensors, plant science, hydrology, and microbiology, as well as drawing on the expertise of more than 100 scientists across eight states.

It is also attempting to make precision farming simple to implement through its proprietary iGrow system, which converts data into simple, daily to-do lists for farmers. According to the company, farmers who have used Absolute's solutions have seen a 10 to 30 percent crop cycle-over-cycle improvement in yields, grade, and quality of produce while using fewer inputs.

Also Read: NABARD provides Rs 230 crore for rural infrastructure projects in Mizoram

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