m-commerce platform AgroStar raises $4 million in a round led by IDG Ventures
AgroStar is Pune based m-commerce company that sells agricultural inputs directly to farmers. The company has just announced a $4 million fund raise from IDG Ventures along with existing investor Aavishkaar who also participated in this round. The company also counts Snapdeal’s Kunal Bhal and Rohit Bansal as its early backers and mentors.
Co-founded by Sitanshu Sheth and Shardul Sheth, AgroStar has a leadership with extensive experience across domains like consulting and retail. An m-commerce platform, AgroStar enables farmers to procure an entire range of agricultural goods by simply giving a missed call on the company’s 1800 number. "Not only is India a land of e-commerce giants, but also a country where farmers can now buy tractors via m-commerce!" exclaims the statement from the company.
The company has partnered with multiple leading national and multinational brands whose agro products can be bought through AgroStar. Farmers can buy seeds, nutrients, crop protection, as well as hardware products from the AgroStar platform. With this funding the company plans to expand operations from Gujarat and Maharashtra to 3-4 additional states over the next 12 months and strengthen its tech and leadership teams.
The website in its current avatar looks more of a presentation to companies who might want to partner, investors and people interested in joining the venture. There is no mention of the 1800 number on the site and a search on the web associates 1800-3000-0021 with AgroStar but calling on that number does not take me anywhere. The Krishijagran websites mentions that AgroStar has field officers on ground for delivery as well as servicing needs of farmers. It also goes on to say that they have received over 3 lakh missed calls. But we are waiting to confirm these claims and the number that works.
Commenting on the investment T C Meenakshisundaram, Founder & Managing Director, IDG Ventures India said, “It is just the beginning of what an agricultural m-commerce platform can achieve, in a mobile-first nation. Their success in Gujarat is a testimony and validity of the idea, and we look forward to AgroStar replicating this change nationally. Having funded many vertical e-commerce leaders in early stage we believe AgroStar has the potential to be the disruptor and the leader in the Agricultural m-commerce vertical with a $ 200 billion market opportunity.”
Shardul Sheth, CEO & Co Founder, AgroStar said, “Farmers in rural India face significant challenges at every point from buying agri-inputs to selling their produce. Our m-commerce platform is attempting to enhance and simplify the agri-business experience for farmers. We are fortunate to partner with and leverage the deep experience of investors like IDG Ventures and Aavishkaar on this endeavor.” Assurance of good quality products, fair pricing, product availability, laser focus on customer service and delivery at the farmer’s doorsteps are some fo the values on which AgroStar is being built.
AgriTech as an industry does not get talked about a lot in the startup circles but increasing investor interest will bring focus to this area. The likes of Aavishkar, IDG Ventures, Unitus Capital and some others have agri-tech as a focus area and we've covered a lot of such stories on SocialStory.