Digital farm advisory startup BharatAgri has raised $6.5 million in a Series A round led by Omnivore, with participation from existing investors India Quotient and 021 Capital.
BharatAgri offers farmers an app-based platform for AI-based agronomy services on a paid subscription basis, which claims to increase farm incomes through systematic implementation of scientific farming techniques.
Based in Bengaluru, BharatAgri was founded in 2017 by Sai Gole and Siddharth Dialani, both alumni of IIT Madras. The startup intends to use this Series A funding to expand its subscriber base beyond Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, accelerate the growth of its inputs marketplace, and refine the existing technology offering. BharatAgri plans to aggressively scale up in the Rabi 2021 season and launch its Series B round in January 2022.
“Even three years ago, it was unimaginable that rural Indians would be paying monthly subscription fees to Netflix and YouTube, which is normal today. BharatAgri has demonstrated that the same is possible with farmers, who see so much value in our advisory platform that they willingly pay subscription fees. In the next few months, we will be expanding our platform to provide other agricultural services, starting with direct-to-farmer agri input supply,” said Siddharth Dialani, co-Founder and CEO of BharatAgri.
Traditional farming practices fail to factor in changing climatic conditions, dwindling natural resources, and optimal use of expensive crop inputs. BharatAgri’s proprietary algorithm collects data on more than 30 critical parameters to provide customised advisory across multiple crops, including grains, pulses, fruits, and vegetables. Farmers get a fully digital and automated service, at an affordable price, that provides targeted insights at appropriate times and regular monitoring of crops.
Mark Kahn, managing partner at Omnivore, commented, "BharatAgri is the only agritech startup in India to successfully monetize a purely digital product for farmers. Making agronomy services widely accessible at an affordable price can help make the dream of doubling farmer incomes a reality."
Over the past 12 months, BharatAgri has experienced 20x growth in paid subscription sales with a 65 per cent renewal rate, said the company. BharatAgri currently has over 33,000 active paid users and aims to expand its subscription base to 150,000 by March 2022. The farmer population on the platform is evenly split between those growing horticulture crops and those growing commodity crops. On average, farmers pay approximately $8.00 (Rs 600) per acre for a six month subscription.
Madhukar Sinha, general partner at India Quotient, added, “BharatAgri is building a trust based platform where farmers are engaging meaningfully with their services. We have observed in rural areas and specifically in agriculture that farmers like to fulfill all their needs from a single place, which is currently an inputs retailer. BharatAgri has the potential to replicate the same on a digital platform and tens of thousands of farmers have already adopted it.”