Gurugram-based agritech startup Kisan Network on Thursday (January 30) announced that it has raised $3 Mn in a seed funding round. The investment has been led by Atsushi Taira at Mistletoe, with participation from Y Combinator, the Thiel Foundation, Venture Highway, FundersClub, Lynett Capital, Gokul Rajaram and other angels.
Talking to Inc42, Aditya Agarwalla, cofounder and CEO, Kisan Network said that the funds will be used towards expansion into new regions and to add support for more crops across the country. He said that a portion of the funds will also be used towards introducing new farmer-centric products and services.
Founded in 2015 by father-son duo, Aditya and Sanjay Agarwalla, Kisan Network is an integrated supply chain for farmers to sell their produce directly to buyers without involving middlemen. It claims to have over 55K farmers onboard across over 6K villages in India. It also says that 100% of the products are procured directly from farmers.
“We see immense value in Kisan Network’s focus in providing market linkages directly to farmers, and their progress so far in building out each aspect of their tech-enabled supply chain is highly promising,” said Atsushi Taira, managing director, Mistletoe Singapore.
According to DataLabs by Inc42, the agritech sector recorded total funding of $244.59 Mn in 2019, an increase of over 350% in the amount of funding in the agritech sector from the previous year. With farming touted to be a $400 Bn industry in India, the market is big enough for startups in both the organised and unorganised segments to sustain and build scalable models. Some of the leading startups in the industry include AgNext, Gramophone, Fasal, Bijak, Intello Labs, DeHaat and others.
Aditya told us that the biggest issue with the farmers is the distrust that permeates throughout the ecosystem. To solve for this, the company has built emphasis on enabling access to information to the farmers about their produce and market prices etc.
The company’s grassroots level reach out to the farmers to create awareness about the product. With this, the company enables farmers to have access to information like market prices, detailed crop quality reports, transportation rates etc.
Further, the company also provides resources to act on the information via its pan-India farmer-to-business supply chain that brings together all stakeholders (such as buyers, transporters and packaging partners) on one platform.
To check crop quality, the company uses computer vision to remotely assess the physical characteristics of the crops. Further, the company has tied up with local logistics players to ensure that produce is directly sent to the buyer.
In terms of growth, Aditya told us that the company has grown 2x in terms of the products sold via its network and a similar growth has been seen in revenue.