BharatRohan Airborne Innovations, Delhi-based agritech startup, has raised seed funding investments in a round led by Upaya Social Ventures and Acumen Fund Inc.
The fresh capital will be used to strengthen its foothold across Rajasthan and Gujarat and scale its traceable, sustainable, and profitable ecosystem of seed spices, oilseeds, and pulses across 2 lakh acres of area in the next 18 months. The investment will help build the capability to sell close to 7,000 metric tonnes of seed spices like cumin, coriander, fenugreek, carom, and fennel to different institutional buyers.
Speaking on the occasion of this fundraise, Amandeep, co-founder, BharatRohan, said, “BharatRohan is committed to making farming profitable so that it appeals to the new generation of growers while ensuring that the consumers get access to safe food with knowledge about how and where it is grown. We are actively looking for institutional buyers who hold these similar values wish to enter into long-term backward linkage programs. This fundraising is going to help us scale and reach out to such like-minded institutions and partners.”
The startup provides drone-based advisory services to nearly 6,000 farmers across 20,000 acres in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. Out of which almost 20% purchase agri-inputs from the company. This relationship enables the company to implement sustainable farming practices and to track every farm activity on the ground. Consequently, this ensures that the farm output meets the quality parameters of the buyers as BharatRohan also procures farm produce from the same farmers and supplies them to the major retail chains, FMCG players, masala makers and exporters based in India.
“India is making rapid technological advancements in the usage of drones, and BharatRohan has been pioneering the applications of drones in agriculture,” said AB Chakravarthy, India Country Director at Upaya. “We are excited by the team’s expertise in providing drone-based crop advisory and market linkage to smallholder farmers. This would help farmers engage in precision farming and boost their income. BharatRohan is at the right inflection point to expand its services to benefit more smallholder farmers and make the Agri value chain pesticide-free,” added Chakravarthy.
Supporting the fund raise, Mahesh Yagnaraman, Country Director Acumen, said, “Acumen believes in the vision of the founders to enable farmers to access high tech drone technology for making informed decisions in the farms. The data from the drones helps farmers to minimize crop losses and pesticide usage. We are optimistic about BharatRohan’s business model in delivering value to both the farmers and the buyers. We believe that BharatRohan is well positioned to make the drone technology affordable and accessible to the farmers by providing entire suite of services for the farmers in each aspect of the agri value chain.”
Amandeep and Rishabh, with their strong technical background, developed a product offering that provides data to prevent pest attacks and reduce crop loss. With timely acquired data through drone technology, the farmers they partner with were able to practice precision agriculture practices on the ground. While farmers were intended to be the initial paying customers for the data, the team pivoted to a model that offered a comprehensive procurement platform to institutional buyers with traceability as the key-value addition. The solution is vertically integrated and offers farmers and FPOs access to the markets through buyback arrangements. The value proposition for the paying customers is access to pesticide and residue-free agricultural commodities, along with a farm traceability platform. The company is tapping into export market demand, which can offer higher margins for the company and the farmers.