Microsoft, on Wednesday (June 3), announced the launch of a ‘Microsoft for Agritech Startups’ programme to bolster agritech startups in India. The US-based tech giant is also aiming to drive innovation in agriculture with the implementation of this accelerator.
With this programme, Microsoft is looking to help startups develop innovative digital solutions to maximise productivity, improve market linkages, increase supply chain efficiency and provide greater access to inputs for agricultural-related businesses.
As part of the initiative, startups will get free access to Azure FarmBeats, which aims to help enterprises improve data processing capabilities. Microsoft said that Azure FarmBeats enables aggregation of agricultural datasets across providers and generation of actionable insights by building artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) models based on fused datasets.
Director of Microsoft for Startups Sangeeta Bavi in India said that the programme is among the early steps in the journey towards empowering Indian startups and transforming global agricultural practices.
The programme is spread across three tiers and is said to be offering a host of benefits including tech enablement and business resources. Microsoft said that all the startups, which have raised seed to Series C funding, will get cloud service Azure benefits, technical support and help with Azure Marketplace onboarding.
With the help of Microsoft’s partner ecosystem, startups, with enterprise-ready solutions, can partner with other startups for marketing strategies, technical support and new sales opportunities.
Moreover, startups can also work towards to create digital agriculture solutions to offer customized solutions with Azure FarmBeats. Microsoft said that this will help startups save their investments in deep data engineering resources.
Meanwhile, Microsoft will also aim to bring together startups, corporates, industry bodies, governments and venture capital firms to create a shared platform for learning and innovation.
According to DataLabs by Inc42, there are over 1090 agritech startups in India which are aiming to improve the lives of farmers while addressing the supply chain issues. From high-tech drones, IoT devices and data analytics to AI and satellite imagery, India’s agritech startups have lately become crucial contributors to the agriculture economy.
In 2019, the agritech sector recorded total funding of $244.59 Mn, an increase of over 350% in the amount of funding in the agritech sector from the previous year. Some notable startups in this domain include WayCool, Ninjacart, AgNext, Aquaconnect, Fasal, Freshokartz, Gramophone, O4S and Intello Labs.