DeHaat, an online marketplace for farm products and services, said it has raised ₹30 crore in a funding round led by impact investor Omnivore. US-based agriculture investor AgFunder and several angel investors too participated in the pre-series A round.
Owned by Green AgRevolution Pvt. Ltd, DeHaat is a technology-based platform offering end-to-end agricultural services to farmers, including distribution of high-quality agri inputs, customized farm advisory, access to financial services, and market linkages for selling their produce.
Founded by Shashank Kumar, an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, the startup currently works with about 56,000 farmers largely in north and eastern India— including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha.
“We decided to focus here because it is the most fertile belt in India, but poor connectivity in the past led to farmers getting neglected. This area has the largest proportion of small farmer holdings, of 2 hectares or less," Kumar said in a phone interview.
It plans to continue to focus on the same area, and intends to reach out to over 250,000 farmers over the next 12 months with the fresh capital. It also plans to set up 14 regional warehouses to store inventory although it won’t own any, Kumar said. After a year or so, it plans to expand to Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.
This is DeHaat’s first institutional round. Earlier, it raised about ₹50 lakh in 2016 from the IIM Calcutta Innovation Centre and ₹50 lakh in 2014 from angel investors.
DeHaat expects to hit ₹45 crore revenue in FY19, up from ₹21 crore in FY18, with positive earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization. With the current round, DeHaat is targeting growth of three-four times over the next 18-24 months.
In its attempt to become a one-stop shop for all farmer and related goods and services, it plans to launch farm credit and crop insurance services later this year.
Jinesh Shah, managing partner of Omnivore, said, “Increasing the profitability of smallholder farmers is the most important priority in rural India, and DeHaat has developed a scalable, sustainable model for doing exactly that." Omnivore is an impact investing venture fund which invests in technology startups focused on food, agriculture and the rural economy. It is currently raising a $100 million second fund, of which it made a first close of $46 million in February last year.