Vitthal Bhosale is a Ph.D. from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, and in March 2013, he decided to start up to help farmers and farming as a whole with the aid of technology. He got together with Kiran Gonte, who is an MBA in marketing, to launch his enterprise. Bhosale Labs has developed two products -- FarmFlux and FarmTalent -- to help connect farmers, get information and improve their reach.Bhosale Labs has been incubated within the Indian Agricultural Research Institute which provides support in terms of office space and connections. The incubator doesn't provide any financial assistance. "I've always been in the agriculture space and after my Ph.D. in horticulture and landscaping, I started my venture because I felt that a lot can be done to improve farming using technology," says Vitthal. Bhosale Labs has a small team, and the two primary products as of now include:
FarmFlux: A personal farm advisory for farming professionals. A registered user can ask questions, give answers to questions, write short messages on advice, alert or facts. Users can subscribe farm advisory stories on the basis of topics of interests, geo-location and crops he is growing or interested in.
FarmTalent: A human resource recruitment and management platform for the agricultural sector.
"Our web application has connected near about 110 agricultural experts to 35,000 farmers from four states in India," says Vitthal. Bhosale has formed a network of experts in the field who act as the resource pool and information about farming best practices, weather conditions, news, etc is sent to the farmers as messages on the mobile phone.
Bhosale Labs also conducts workshops across the country to revive farming and help farmers become more connected. "We are conducting workshops like the One day training program (PAU Campus, Ludhiana), Training program for Haryana KVKs (Hisar, Haryana), etc," says Vitthal. There is a revenue model in mind but that is not the focus currently. Eventually, there might be a subscription model for the farmers but the company is trying to form a connection with the farmers and understand the community better so that they can build tailor-made products for the community.
Bhosale Labs is registered in Pune and has an office in New Delhi. The company has a good presence in states like Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and a couple of other North Indian states, and the plan is to increase this reach. The company is also looking to raise their funds to execute better and quickly. "We see Bhosale Labs as a new company that aims at leadership in agriculture information and sustainable landscape development," says Vitthal.
Technology in Agriculture should surely be a key focus in mind for startups in India. "Agriculture is an ever green sector for investment," says Anil Joshi in this interview. We also recently conducted the Vodafone Developer's meetup on Agriculture which confirms the interest and need for development in this huge sector. Frontal Rain and eFarm are some of the startups that've been able to make inroads and there is ample space for other players to come in and improve the situation.