Rural Agri Ventures aims to provide Solar lighting to 3,000 households across 427 villages in TN

7th Jan 2016
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Most responsible citizens strive to contribute something to the country, but not all explore the difference they can make to the rural and agricultural ecosystem in India. Raakhe Kapoor Tandon (29), daughter of Rana Kapoor, MD and CEO, Yes Bank, wanted to invest in something that has a large socio-economic footprint. She launched Rural Agri Ventures in March 2014, a parent company of RAAS Capital.

Rural Agri Venture Team
Rural Agri Venture Team

Rural Agri Ventures is a Gurgaon-based business incubation firm that aims to cater to the under-served, yet critical rural and agribusiness industry. The company currently operates five business verticals: Renewable Energy, LED Lighting, Agro Logistics, Agri Infrastructure and Animal Feed. The startup provides institutional capital by investing in commercially viable and socially-impactful businesses.

This is the right time to enter sunrise sectors which are in their nascent phase and witnessing a significant demand-supply gap with an enormous upside,” says Raakhe.

She has completed an MBA majoring in Entrepreneurial Management from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, USA. Under RAAS Capital, Raakhe has founded two ventures—RAAS Housing Finance (India) Ltd, a company that is engaged in providing long-term mortgage finance to retail customers, and Rural Agri Ventures India.

Segregation of business

The LED business under the brand 'myWay' sells affordable, superior quality LED lighting products.

The Cattle Feed business has been launched recently for farmers to enhance milk productivity in the State of Punjab. It offers balanced and intelligent nutritious feeding solutions for animals under the brands 'Happy Cow' And 'Nu Feed'. While LED Lighting and Cattle Feed are mainly retail-oriented businesses, the former operates in urban areas while the latter addresses the needs of dairy farmers in the rural market.

The Agro Logistics business offers 'Mr. KooL': customised reefer van solutions for perishables, at economical pricing. It serves customers across dairy, frozen food, organised retail and pharmaceutical industries.

The solar business offers captive, off-grid and grid-connected solar power plant solutions for both rooftop and ground-mounted applications. The company is also heavily engaged in rural electrification and solar pump projects.

Under the CSR route, it also offers rural electrification services and has lit up 35 villages across Uttar Pradesh with grid-connected and off-grid solar power plants, solar pumps and street lights, lanterns and home lights.

Apart from this, the startup is currently lighting up 3,133 households through solar home lighting systems across 427 villages in Tamil Nadu, and the project is likely to be completed within six months.

Raakhe says,

India is the largest producer of perishables, but stores less than 11 per cent of the country's total produce, leading to 10-30 per cent wastage every year. While 105 million tonnes of perishable produce is transported across India annually, only four million tonnes is via reefers.

Expansion mode

With 62 employees, Rural Agri Ventures has physical offices in Gurgaon, Delhi, Jaipur and Punjab. The agro logistics and renewable energy verticals caters to pan-India, whereas LED and cattle feed are present in Rajasthan, Delhi and Punjab markets.

Agri-infrastructure vertical of the startup is coming up with the construction of mega food parks, warehousing and affordable townships to assist in Government of India's 'Make in India' project, as the country's population grows.

Girish Aivalli, MD & CEO, Rural Agri Ventures says,

We are growing at a rate of 10 per cent month on month. In some months, our logistics business will grow at a rate of 100 per cent. By March 2016, we aim to reach a revenue mark of Rs 35 to 40 crore.

Girish has twenty years of experience working in leading international organisations, including Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland, Olam International and Yes Bank. He holds an MBA from Management Development Institute, Gurgaon.

YourStory’s take

Agriculture has become one of the sunrise sectors in India for startups to enter, because of its potential business opportunity. Gap in agriculture supply chain and poor productivity are two crucial factors that have opened up multiples avenues.

As earlier reported by YourStory, 40 per cent of India’s produce is wasted in transit, as India has only 8,000 refrigerated trucks capable of transporting fresh produce. Therefore, only four million of the 104 million tonnes of fresh produce are transported every year through refrigerated transport.

EM3 Agriservices, DestaGlobal, Anubal Agro, Agrotech app, Save India Grain are some of the startups in this space. However, Rural Agri Ventures does not directly compete with them as they focus on renewable energy and LED lighting as well. Moreover, the startup’s expected revenue numbers reflects the kind of growth it is targeting.

Rural Agri Venture

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