Now, Rent a Farm and Harvest Your own Veggies. Real-Life Farmville is Here
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Most people living in apartments are deprived of the luxury of owing a terrace or garden farm, where they can grow vegetables. Yet, many living in big cities dream of spending their time on a farm after retirement and eat the produce of their own farm. Now, to live that dream you won’t have to leave behind your city life nor live at a farm. Bangalore-based Farmizen — a farming Airbnb of sorts — is connecting urbanites to farmers who help you rent a mini-farm and grow your organic veggies.
What’s more, you get to see the harvest not only through pictures and videos but you can also visit your farm over the weekend. It was the question: whether the organic veggies we buy from the market are truly organic or not that got co-founders — Shameek Chakravarty, Gitanjali Rajamani and Sudaakeran Balasubramanian — thinking. In 2017, they founded Farmizen, an app based service to rent a mini-farm and grow chemical-free vegetables. This concept not only helps the urban buyers but also provides regular income to farmers. After Bangalore, the startup has now expanded to Hyderabad and Surat. In the next phase of growth, it plans to enter Chennai, Pune, and Mumbai. The third phase of growth would take it to Delhi and other cities.
Both Shameek and Bala have been ex-Amazon employees. In 2006, after quitting their jobs, they went on to create their own startup and later sold it to Yahoo. The other co-founder Gitanjali had set up an urban gardening startup earlier after quiting her job at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). In 2016, they all got together to grow their own food by taking a patch of land. After initial success they set up Farmizen and raised an angel round of $300,000. From one farm to begin with, they now have 22 farms with 40 acre of land. Currently, they are serving 1500 subscribers with around 100 farmer partners. They plan to take the number to 100,000 subscribers. Chakravarty says, “The aim is to get to 100 cities with 1,000 subscribers each and we will have an annual revenue of Rs 300 crore.”
With a team strenght of 11, the startup plans to raise preseries A once it crosses the 2,000 subscribers mark. In the 50:50 revenue sharing model with farmers, the startup takes care of delivering, marketing, technology, customer servicing, farm inputs and supply, while the farmers take care of the entire crop. So far, the startup has seen 5-6 percent of churn in customers. With almost 15 types of crop a customer can grow a good 5 to 6 kg of weekly produce.
How Farmizen works?
Users can rent out a 600 square feet mini-farm located in a real farm near them for a monthly fee of Rs 2500 through the app
Farmers take care of all the crops chosen by the user
Just like Farmville, users can control their farm through Farmizen app, which is available on Android and iOS.
They can visit their farm anytime and harvest their chemical-free produce.
If busy, Farmizen will home deliver the produce every week to the user.
(This article was first published in the December 2019 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)