DeHaat, an online marketplace for farm products and services, has raised Rs 30 crore (USD 4.37 million) in a pre-Series A funding round led by venture fund Omnivore. US-based agriculture investor AgFunder and several angel investors too participated in the round.
The fresh funding will be used to on board around 25,000 farmers in the next one year as well as set up 14 regional warehouses. It also has plans to expand in newer markets such as Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.
Founded by Shashank Kumar and owned by Green AgRevolution Pvt. Ltd, DeHaat offers end-to-end agricultural services to farmers, including distribution of high-quality agri inputs, customised farm advisory and access to financial services and market linkages for selling their produce.
Gurgaon-based DeHaat works with 56,000 farmers in north and eastern India— including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha. It had raised about Rs 500,000 in 2016 from the IIM Calcutta Innovation Centre and Rs 500,000 in 2014 from angel investors.
“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 two hectares or less," Kumar told Mint.
DeHaat provides agriculture inputs, advises farmers on crops and links them with market for farm produce. The company earns revenue from sales of farm produce to institutions and sales of agricultural inputs to farmers. While it doesn’t charge farmers for crop advisory, around 72% of the overall revenue comes from market linkage of farm produce.
Jinesh Shah, managing partner of Omnivore, told Mint that 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."
According to Inc42 Datalabs, the total funding in Agritech startups in India has grown from USD 46.1 million in 2017 to USD 66.6 million in 2018.
The agri-tech space is getting investors’ attentions as more and more companies are using technology to solve rural India’s problems. This month, TartanSense, an AI powered robotics solutions provider raised USD 2 million seed funding led by Omnivore, Blume Ventures and BEENEXT. Pune-based AgroStar also raised USD 27 million in Series C round led by Bertelsmann India, with participation from existing investors including Accel, Chirate Ventures and Aavishkar Bharat Fund.
In March, Bengaluru-based agricultural service provider Aibono raised USD 2.5 million in pre-series A funding led by Menterra Venture Advisors. The startup uses AI to provide precision agriculture to farmers and aggregates demand for agricultural supplies by working with small retailers.