Bengaluru-based agritech startup Ninjacart has raised $34.6 Mn (INR 250 Cr) in a Series B funding round from Accel US, Syngenta Ventures, Neoplux, ZIGxN founder Jo Hirao, HR Capital, and Trifecta Capital. All existing investors including Accel India, Nandan Nilekani, Mistletoe and Qualcomm Ventures also participated in this round.
The platform will use the funds raised for expanding to new geographies, strengthening its product and technology team. It is also looking to invest in improving the supply chain infrastructure. The company, which was made it to Inc42‘s list of most innovative Indian startups — 42Next — hopes to launch operations in more than 10 cities and also have over 200 distribution centres. Eventually, it will also ramp up hiring for its platform.
Including this round, the startup has raised a total of $43.02 Mn (INR 310 Cr) so far since its inception. According to a report, it had raised $4.9 Mn (INR 35 Cr) in Series A round from Accel, NRJN Trust, among others in July 2018. It had also raised $1 Mn (INR 7 Cr) in a venture debt funding round from Trifecta Capital in March this year.
Thirukumaran Nagarajan, CEO and cofounder of Ninjacart said, “Our focus will be on expanding to new markets and continue to innovate on behalf of our farmers and customers – and this will come from continued investments in talent, technology and supply chain infrastructure.”
Ninjacart was founded in 2015 by Thirukumaran Nagarajan, Kartheeswaran K K, Ashutosh Vikram, Sharath Loganathan and Vasudevan Chinnathambi. It offers a platform for farmers to directly connect with businesses. It aims at increasing the farmers’ incomes, reduce food wastage, introduce competitive prices for retailers and ensure quality food for all consumers.
Ninjacart currently operates in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Chennai with a team of over 750 employees. It has a sourcing network of more than 3,000 farmers across South India and transports fresh produce from farm to about ,4000 retailers in less than 12 hours of picking on a daily basis.
The company has also been identified as top 11 Indian startups to enable $50 Bn online commerce by Google, Bain and Omidyar and featured amongst the 42 most innovative Indian startups by Inc42.
According to Subrata Mitra, partner at Accel India, the startup has been trying to solve the major issues related to fruits and vegetable supply in the country. With their continued efforts, the platform has strengthened its position in the South Indian market.
“With the current round of financing, we expect them to continue to scale rapidly, enter new cities, and enable direct relationships with farmers and shop owners across even more categories,” Mitra added.
Some of the other notable startups in the Indian agritech space include Gold Farm, Taaza, AgroStar, WayCool, Utkal Tubers, EM3 Agri Services, and Gobasco.
Investors that are active in the agritech space include Omnivore Partners, Future Venture Capital Company Ltd. (FVCCL), IDG Venture, Accel Partners, Aspada Investments, IvyCap Ventures, Unitus Seed Fund, Rabo Equity Advisors, SAIF Partners, Villgro Innovations Foundation, Qualcomm Ventures and IDFC.
Also, last year, Taizo Son, Founder & Chairman, Mistletoe, launched ‘Gastrotope’, an accelerator platform to help integrate the entire agrifood startup ecosystem, enabling startups to face challenges at multiple layers.
With an aim to boost innovation and entrepreneurship in agriculture, the Government of India is introducing a new AGRI-UDAAN programme to mentor startups and to enable them to connect with potential investors. The Centre has allowed 100% FDI in marketing of food products and in food product ecommerce under the automatic route.
As quoted by Hemendra Mathur, venture partner Bharat Innovation Fund in The State Of The Indian Startup Ecosystem Report 2018 by Inc42, there are an estimated 500-600 agritech startups in India, most of them less than three years old. The total venture capital investment in Indian agritech in the last five years has been about $150 Mn (INR 1,080 Cr) across 70 odd deals. He also added that the number is estimated to grow to 1,000 by 2022, with many of them being potential unicorns.