[Funding Alert] Y Combinator-backed Agritech Start-Up Raises Funding
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Agritech start-up Kisan Network has raised $3 million in a fresh round of funding led by Mistletoe’s Atsushi Taira, the company said on Thursday. Several others including Y Combinator, the Thiel Foundation, Venture Highway, FundersClub and Lynett Capital also participated in the round.
“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 Taira in a statement.
Founded in 2016 by the father-son duo of Sanjay Agarwalla and Aditya Agarwalla, the company connects marginal farmers, who constitute a large part of the entire population, directly to businesses anywhere in the country for the sale of their produce. Each step is digitally captured and monitored.
The company said this investment will help its rapid expansion plans as it grows into new regions and crops across the country, and brings more such farmers into the fold. “A portion of the round will also go towards introducing new farmer centric products and services to existing farmers on our network,” it added.
Need For Agritech
According to Kisan Network, which started as dinner table conversation and was then Aditya’s undergraduate thesis project, farmers across the country face several problems when selling their crops, some of them being opaque pricing, limited knowledge of best markets, delayed payments and poor logistical support.
While these are all well-documented, the Agarwallas realized that the issue was much deeper. “The issue is that of distrust that permeates throughout the ecosystem.”
To tackle this distrust, Kisan Network primarily addresses the problem of access to information and then provides resources to act on that information. A person on the network gets access to market prices, crop quality reports, transportation rates and other necessary details. The company provides a supply chain platform that brings together all stakeholders - buyers, transporters and packaging partners - in one place.
“We treat the farmer like an entrepreneur,” the company said.
Kisan Network has managed to grow quickly over the last few years. It has managed to onboard over 55,000 farms across more than 6,000 villages in India.
The company said it has helped facilitate the sale of produce that has travelled 275,000 kms over 65 unique routes. And while the new funds are a reason of joy, Aditya said the celebrations were only for a day before it was time to go back to work.
“While raising money is sometimes mistaken for success, we realize the fallacy in doing so. Farmers could not care less about how much we have raised...working with them on a daily basis keeps us and the entire team grounded, and rightly so.”