New Delhi: CropIn Technology Solutions Pvt. Ltd, which provides agri-businesses with farm management software and mobile apps, has raised $8 million in a Series B funding round from Chiratae Ventures (formerly IDG Ventures) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Strategic Investment Fund, the company said on Tuesday.
The Bengaluru-based company had previously raised $4 million from investors including BEENext, Invested Development, Denmark-based Sophia Investment, Ankur Capital and BSP Fund LLC. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has also backed Indian agri-tech startup Stellapps.
Founded in 2010 by Krishna Kumar, Kunal Prasad and Chittaranjan Jena, CropIn is a SaaS based service provider for agri-businesses. It enables data-driven farming through the ‘SmartFarm’ platform, which helps derive real time insight on standing crop and projects across geographies based on local weather information and high-resolution satellite imagery.
The company plans to utilise the fresh funding to strengthen its technology and machine-learning platform, expand to over 10 million acres of land and reach seven million farmers in India and globally.
“To feed the 9.7 billion people in the world in 2050, agriculture efficiency must increase by 35% - 70% and technology is the key. India’s rich mix of farming practices and small landholdings provide a massive data set to inform our models," said Kumar, co-founder and chief executive officer at CropIn.
CropIn claims to use Big Data analytics, artificial intelligence and remote sensing to analyze data for 265 crops for agriculture processors, distributors, inputs providers, lenders and insurers through its APIs. The start-up is also building an agri-information dataset to detect patterns and predict the future of a variety of crops.
CropIn’s clientele include PepsiCo, Mahindra & Mahindra, ITC, and McCain along with banks, government bodies and development agencies. It is present in 29 countries including across South East Asia, Europe and Africa and has engaged with nearly 2 million farmers holding 3 million acres of land in farm management, crop cycle monitoring, harvest and brings in produce traceability from farm to fork.
According to the company, the global market of digital-based agriculture services is estimated at $4.5 billion by 2020. Other players in the agri-tech industry include Aibono, Intello Labs and Matrix-backed Gobasco.
“The potential to revolutionize agriculture leveraging technology and machine learning has never been greater," said Karan Mohla, executive director at Chiratae Ventures.
CropIn has grown three times year-on-year, added Kumar. Last year, the company also invested $5 million in building digital platform ‘Smart Risk’ for microfinance, banking and non-banking institutions to identify and minimise the risk in lending and insurance business.