[The Turning point] This IIT Delhi alumnus is empowering farmers with her agritech startup
India’s agriculture sector, which employs more than half of India’s overall population, has been facing a crisis on many fronts. One of the many difficulties faced by the agriculture community is supplying the produce, especially fruits and vegetables, before it perishes. IIT Delhi graduate Anu Meena saw it all very closely and decided to solve it with her startup,.
Gurugram-based AgroWave optimises agriculture supply chain using research, analytics, and technology, and is currently working with thousands of farmers in India to get the right price, supply, and distribution network.
The eureka moment
While growing up, Anu Meena saw her grandfather struggling to sell his produce in the market. Apart from this, there were other challenges troubling farmers like arranging logistics, finding buyers, and getting the right prices. This had a huge impact on Anu.
An Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi graduate, she even landed a job with an American company. But each time she would think about her grandfather, she always felt she had to do something to solve the problems faced by the farming community.
The urge became her motivation to look for solutions. Anu also realised that there were many services delivering products to the doorstep of customers in metros, but there was no such service for farmers in rural areas.
This was Anu’s eureka moment. With an aim to bridge this gap and get farmers a fair price for their produce by eliminating middlemen, Anu started AgroWave in 2017. The startup has developed a tech-driven solution to build a sustainable supply chain for fruits and vegetables.
AgroWave establishes technology-driven mobile pickup stations (MPS) in villages at farm-gates from where it collects the produce. The farmers have to download the AgroWave app and they receive notification about the MPS timings and other information. AgroWave later does a customised sorting, grading, and packaging to maintain the quality.
The startup then uses its tech-enabled logistics and delivers the produce to customers for free of cost. AgroWave basically buys the produce directly from farmers and sells it to small mandis and businesses such as hotels, retailers, restaurants, caterers, canteens, PGs, and even individual customers.
Anu says that she started up with zero investment and worked on the business model and technology alone. Her pilot project grabbed investors’ interest and the startup raised an undisclosed amount of funding in 2017 from Daffodil Software Pvt Limited.
Growth and future plans
Anu says the startup is clocking about Rs 2.5 crore monthly revenue and has onboarded more than 3,500 people from across regions such as Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Maharashtra. In September this year, the Gurugram-based startup raised close to $500,000 in funding from US-based investor Sekhar Puli.
The company is currently working towards scaling its MPS model in more villages and is also building a price prediction model at the supply side for the farmers, for which the company will expand its technology team.
“It’s important to build trust with farmers to work with them. Our MPS model is helping us build trust with small and medium farmers in rural areas. It is helping them to sell the produce easily through our mobile app,” says Anu.
“We are building farm to business mobility supply chain through an integrated network of mobile pickup stations at farm gates. We are focused to build strong technology to create more efficient supply chain,” she adds.
Anu’s aim is to drive change in farmers’ lives by giving them better returns. “We are focused to build strong technology to create a more efficient supply chain,” she says.
Edited by Megha Reddy