Agritech startup FarmLink raises $3 M in seed fundingLibza Mannan
The Mumbai-based startup plans to utilise the seed stage funding of Rs 20 crore ($3 million) to expand its geographical reach, strengthen technology, and analytics capabilities in the supply chain.
FarmLink, a fruit and vegetable supply chain company, raised the seed stage funding from Pioneering Ventures, a Swiss-based incubator and investment firm, and Syngenta, a Swiss agribusiness firm.
Launched in 2014, FarmLink has been incubated in Pioneering Ventures since inception and entered the market last year with Star Bazaar, Vista Processed Foods (caters to McDonald’s), supermarket chains, and other popular hyperlocal stores.
The company is on a mission to address serious challenges in Indian agriculture such as low yield and high wastage across the value chain. It is modernising the way fresh produce is grown and distributed in India by not only introducing global best practices in agronomy, but also providing knowledge and extension services to the farmers.
It seeks to become the backend supply chain partner, the “one-stop shop”, and the preferred supplier of value-added fresh produce while ensuring end-to-end value chain control, food safety, increased digitisation, farmer engagement, and social responsibility.
At present, FarmLink has four distribution-cum-collection centres across Maharashtra, Telangana, and Karnataka and procures supplies from over 700 farmers. The agritech company plans to utilise the capital raised to expand its geographical reach in South India and the North, and also strengthen its technology and analytics capabilities in the supply chain.
Sreeram Chellappa, COO, FarmLink, said, “We aim to transform the way fresh produce is grown and distributed in the India by introducing global best practices. In parallel, we empower the farmers by providing knowledge and extension services such agriculture credit, crop insurance, and warehousing. We ensure regular and secured income for the farmers with long-term off-take agreements.”
The company offers various value-added processing services and a full assortment of ‘ready-to-retail’, customer-friendly products. It is also in the final stages of implementing ‘FarmTrace’, a proprietary B2C consumer traceability app, that among other functionalities, can track the product from farm to shelf allowing customers and consumers to get transparent insight into when, where, and how the food was grown.
How FarmLink helps farmers
Besides focussing on low yield and high wastage, the fruit and vegetable supply chain company provides their farmers with secured income based on long-term off-take agreements and all-round support to improve productivity and quality. FarmLink procures fruits and vegetables directly from their farmers through a network of collection and service centres with world-class infrastructure. It then delivers the produce to industrial scale off-takers such as big retail stores, Hotel-Restaurant-Cafe (HORECA) chains, industrial processors, and emerging e-commerce food platforms.
By restructuring the supply chain, the company brings efficiency in delivery from farm to fork which results in minimum wastage of the produce and ensures better pricing for the farmers.
Akshaya Kamath, Director, Pioneering Ventures India, said, “India’s agriculture is facing serious challenges such as low yield and enormous wastage across the value chain. FarmLink attempts to address these challenges by fundamentally transforming and modernising critical stages of the entire supply chain. We are excited to partner with the company on this journey.”
Sreeram Chellappa highlights, “FarmLink’s focus is to develop India’s underserved regions. It is associated with more than 700 farmers to improve the quality and quantity of their produce. The company intends to reduce agri wastage by streamlining the value chain to less than five percent, in comparison to the country’s average of 30 percent. Majority of this saving translates into increased farmers’ earnings.”