Horticulture startup INI Farms has bagged $1.95 Mn from Aavishkaar Capital’s ESG First Fund. As per the startup, it will use the funds to achieve multifold growth, expand through the entire agriculture output business and leverage the current supply chain capabilities.
The startup aims at building a tech-driven global fruit brand in the name of Kimaye. It caters to the agro-market of 35 countries through its direct-to-consumer platform FruitRoute and several other ecommerce channels. In India, the startup has a presence in 8 cities including the likes of Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad.
INI Farms was founded in 2009 by Pankaj Khandelwal and Purnima Khandelwal and aims at 100% disintermediation and below 2% food wastage that happens due to supply chain delays.
In 2022, INI Farms was acquired by B2B farm input startup Agrostar in a cash and stock deal. The deal provided INI with access to an engaged digital farmer network with over 5 Mn users, and a retail network of 2000+ stores.
Commenting on the funding round, Purnima Khandelwal said, “The agriculture story in India is poised for a multi-fold growth. We believe that large platforms providing end-to-end services to the farmers from advisory and inputs to output offtake is going to drive this transformation.”
Aavishkaar Capital has been a consistent investor in sustainable enterprises. Last year in December, accompanied by Aditya Birla Ventures, it invested $13 Mn in dairytech startup MoooFarm.
Agro-based startups have been making strides with an increasing amount of innovation in the sector. Kamlesh Nanasaheb Ghoomre, popularly known as ‘Jugaadu Kamlesh’ has garnered visibility as he secured INR 10 Lakh for 40% equity and INR 20 Lakh in debt from Peyush Bansal on Shark Tank India. Following this, several startups such as Carrageen, Cocofit, Tagz Foods, etc secured funding from the ‘Sharks’ on the show.
On the other hand, big players such as Flipkart-backed Ninjacart’s net loss narrowed by 70% to INR 307.9 Cr in the financial year ending March 31, 2022, from INR 1,023 Cr in the financial year 2020-21 (FY21).
Another Indian agro-based startup Eggoz raised $8.8 Mn last year in December, while CropIn secured $13.7 Mn from investors including Google, JSR Corporation, ABC Impact, and Chiratae Ventures.
In 2022, Startup India reported that even in the current times, almost 70% of Indian households earn from agriculture, and it contributes to about 17-18% of the country’s overall GDP.
Farm2Fam, DeHaat, ReshaMandi, Vegrow etc are some other startups that are operating in the agritech segment in India.