Mumbai: Agritech startup AgroStar has raised $70 million in a Series D funding round led by Evolvence, global asset manager Schroders Capital, Hero Enterprise, and UK’s development finance institution CDC. The agritech startup plans to use the fresh capital to accelerate growth through omnichannel expansion and market linkages.
The round also saw participation from existing investors Aavishkaar Capital, Accel, Bertelsmann, Chiratae Ventures, and Rabo Frontier Ventures.
Founded in 2013 by Sitanshu Sheth and Shardul Sheth, AgroStar leverages data and technology to solve farmers’ problems of access to good quality agri-inputs and bridge the knowledge gap owing to traditional farming practices.
AgroStar currently operates in the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh. Its digital farmer network and agri inputs platform serve over five million farmers.
According to the company, the $50 billion agri-input market is challenged with a lack of knowledge and access to quality products resulting in low crop productivity.
“The platform has seen a 10X growth in video content consumption over the last year. Our platform is easy to use for the Indian farmer and adds real value on the 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 Sitanshu Sheth, cofounder and COO, AhroStar.
AgroStar has ramped up its brand stores from 50 to over 1,000 stores in the last twelve months, the release said.
“We are now doubling down on our omnichannel strategy to provide a seamless experience to our farmers across various touchpoints both digital and physical. We plan to utilise the funding to strengthen our tech platform, hire senior talent, expand into new categories, geographies and scale to over 5,000 AgroStar branded retail stores to fuel our omnichannel strategy,” said Shardul Sheth, cofounder, and CEO, AgroStar. “We will also expand our services to provide market linkage value additions for our farmer base and we will look at acquisition opportunities in this area.”
“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,” said Abhishek Chandra, managing director of Evolvence India.
“Digitization and contemporary management practices can unlock tremendous value in farming. A farmer-first approach, an omnichannel platform, and strong connections with the farmer community are helping Agrostar create a socio-economic impact, and we believe they have the potential to dominate the market over this decade,”Sunil Kant Munjal, chairman, Hero Enterprise said.
With this funding, Agrostar joins a long list of agritech startups that have seen record funding in 2021. According to data from Venture Intelligence, more than $430 million have flowed into these startups so far this year.
Agritech startups such as DeHaat, Reshamandi, AgNext Technologies, Cropin, Gramophone, Bijak, Onato, BharatAgri, TartanSense among others have raised capital from risk investors in recent times.
According to the data from Venture Intelligence, agritech startups raised $156 million in 2020, $222 million in 2019 and $89 million in 2018 from venture capital and private equity funds.
“The agriculture sector plays a fundamental role in delivering a wide range of growth opportunities for any country, with farmers at the helm as the key drivers of the industry,” said Craig Gifford, Head South Asia Private Equity Funds, at CDC Group.