Four-year-old agritech startup AIBono, with its algorithm to understand which vegetables and fruits are consumed in each suburb, aims to add 1,000 farmers on its platform.Vishal Krishna
When Vivek Rajkumar turned to farming in 2011 after he graduated from IIT Madras, his life took a complete turn. He initially failed as a farmer, but realised that the reason he did was because of a lack of data at the sowing and the supply stage. He also realised that most farmers do not know of the demand from consumers. He had initially conceived AIBono to help farmers understand soil quality, but soon, expanded its scope to increase farm yields.
AIBono leased its first farm in the Nilgiris in 2015, and since then, more than 40 farmers have come on board to benefit from the tech it offers. Today, the startup suggests inputs and provides seeds to help increase the yield, and also buys the produce from the farmers and delivers it to 250 retailers. “Owning the entire ecosystem makes our platform stronger as we can connect consumption and farming together. It brings the best produce to homes, and for farmers they know what cities are consuming,” says Vivek, the founder of AIBono.
AIBono deals with perishable fruits and vegetables. Says Vivek,
“With perishables, the supply chain has to be very efficient. There cannot be any hoarding when it comes to perishables, and hence AIBono can help farmers find a market for their produce without having them waste the produce.”
The company recently raised $2.5 million in a pre-Series A funding round led by Menterra Venture Advisors. Its platform now plans to scale up to 1,000 farmers and double the number of retailers signed up.
According to the agriculture ministry, farming is a $400-billion market, and one of the largest employers in India. It, however, suffers from fragmented land holdings to unrealised price discovery.
Agritech is now a booming business with startups like FarmAgain (autonomously managed farm), Farmizen, Peat, and DroneAgro making attempts to improve yields and market access with technology. Crofarm, a Delhi-based farm-to-fork company has raised $2.1 million. AIBono has gone a step further, and has started Seed-to-Fork as a concept.