After online grocery delivery startup Mygreenbox got acquired by Grofers in April this year, co-founders Varun Khurana and Prashant Jain moved on to start their second venture Crofarm Agriproducts in May.
We have a background in startups where we raised capital, exited and gave a handsome return to our investors.” says Varun.
While managing the supply chain for procuring fruits and vegetables from the mandi and then distributing the same to dark stores, Varun and Prashant are involved deeply in understanding what happens behind the mandi.
The duo invested a significant amount of time in visiting farms across Punjab, UP, Uttarakhand and Haryana, and became familiarised with the challenges farmers face. They even attended various agri-based conferences, and in one such conference, they came to know about a bunch of companies that sell fertilizers, pesticides and farm machinery to farmers.
What intrigued the duo was that no one was selling the farmers’ produce.
The irony is that if the farmer is not selling his produce at the right time and price, how he will buy all these things! The primary channel that exists today to help him sell is the mandi, and that is not very farmer-friendly,” says Varun.
He further added that the farmer has to take his produce to the mandi and have his fate ultimately decided by the middle men there. He has to accept whatever price he is given, and given the perishability of his produce, there is little scope for him to take it back and figure out where else he can sell the produce.
The duo then stumbled upon the idea of Crofarm Agriproducts, a startup that works to connect farmers to their preferred market and help them sell better.
Crofarm’s business credo is F2B – from Farm to Business. The startup aims to build a technology-powered supply chain that supports farmers and provides businesses with the freshest produce in the most efficient manner.
Intending to change the way that food retailers procure the produce, Crofarm will help farmers take their produce to market faster, thereby minimising wastage. The startup will also enable retailers to avail better quality produce at better prices.
Crofarm procures fresh fruits and vegetables from the farmers and deliver them to both online (Big Bazaar, Metro Cash & Carry, Bigbasket, Grofers) and offline retailers (neighborhood fruit and vegetable shops). Less perishable commodities like potatoes and onions are procured from Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra and then transported to Delhi-NCR, Mumbai and Bengaluru, while perishable goods are procured regionally.
Crofarm supplies goods to 10-15 small retailers in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru. It generates revenue from the commission it receives through the sale of the produce.
Crofarm this year will focus on stabilising operations across Delhi-NCR, Mumbai and Bengaluru, and in the next year plans to expand to other cities, including tier II cities. With a team size of 40, the Delhi-based startup is earning a monthly revenue of Rs one crore and is planning to close at a top line of over Rs 100 crore in the next fiscal year.
When we asked them what it means for them to be a part of Tech 30, Varun said,
YourStory has been instrumental in covering startups over these years, and we feel honored to be a part of YourStory’s Tech30 initiative.”
According to a report by the India Brand Equity Foundation, India's food grain production has increased marginally to 252.23 million tonnes in the 2015–16 crop year. The GDP of agriculture and allied sectors in India was recorded at $259.23 billion in FY 2015, as compared to $132.71 in FY 2014.
BigHaat, an agri-commerce startup, empowers farmers by providing them with quality agro inputs and accessories through a marketplace platform. Agri-equipment rental marketplace Ravgo offers access to modern technology for small farmers who cannot afford ownership of expensive machinery. Jayalaxmi Agrotech, a crop-specific app in English and regional languages, helps farmers minimise crop loss and improve productivity.
Playing in the agritech space, Crofarm is doing a wonderful job of connecting farmers directly with consumers in a transparent manner. The co-founding team has a strong focus on technology, which gives them an edge to make the idea work.