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AgroStar raises USD 70 million from investors for expansion

AgroStar raises USD 70 million from investors for expansion

Funding News

AgroStar raises USD 70 million from investors for expansion

Agritech startup AgroStar has raised USD 70 million (around Rs 527 crore) from investors Evolvence, Schroders Capital, Hero Enterprise and UK’s development finance institution CDC to expand its business across India and future growth, its founder and CEO Shardul Sheth said on Tuesday.

The round also saw participation from existing investors Aavishkaar Capital, Accel, Bertelsmann, Chiratae Ventures, and Rabo Frontier Ventures. “We have raised USD 70 million in Series D funding round from new as well as existing investors,” Sheth told PTI. He declined to share the valuation at which the fund has been raised. Pune-based AgroStar, which was founded in 2013 by Sitanshu Sheth and Shardul Sheth, provides real time farm advisory free of cost through its tech platform to farmers across India.

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It also provides agri-inputs to farmers across Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh through its 1,000 franchisee stores as well as delivery partners in rural centres. On utilisation of funds, Shardul said the company would invest in strengthening technological capabilities, increasing the number of franchisee stores to 5,000, adding more products on both online and offline platform and expanding its physical presence across the country over the next two-three years.

He said the company was also considering to start services to help farmers in marketing their produce. Asked about profits and turnover, Shardul said the company has achieved profitability at operational level but it would take few more years to become profitable at enterprise level. He did not share the company’s annual turnover, but said the company supplied one million orders last fiscal and hoped to deliver 2.5 million orders this financial year.

“We leverage data and technology to solve farmers’ problems of access to good quality agri-inputs and bridge the knowledge gap owing to traditional farming practices,” said Shardul. The USD 50 billion agri-input market is challenged with a lack of knowledge and access to quality products resulting in low crop productivity. AgroStar is seeing rapid growth of its platform with its mobile App crossing the 5 million download milestone.

“Our platform is easy to use for the Indian farmer and adds real value on ground for them. We believe that this is just the beginning and foresee massive acceleration in digital adoption by 140 million plus Indian farmers over the next few years,” said Co-founder and COO, Sitanshu Sheth. AgroStar said it is adding substantial value to farmers in terms of reduction in input cost and increase in yield.

Farmers use the AgroStar app to read and watch agronomy content, post pictures of their crop problems to get advice, share and comment on fellow farmer posts, use voice search to look for agri products, and transact on the platform. “AgroStar has remained true to its mission of HelpingFarmersWin from its inception. We are now doubling down on our omnichannel strategy to provide a seamless experience to our farmers across various touch points both digital and physical,” Shardul said.

Sunil Kant Munjal, Chairman, Hero Enterprise said, We are excited to be a part of the AgroStar journey and have been following this company for more than three years. We are particularly impressed by the team’s execution capabilities, sustainable business model, and the way they are using technology to provide access to information and better quality inputs, thus helping farmers increase yields and incomes.”

Abhishek Chandra, Managing Director of Evolvence India said the AgroStar’s business model addresses the service gap in the agri space by building the largest tech-enabled omnichannel platform that enables farmers to access knowledge and buy quality products across channels.

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