[Startup Bharat] How Arya.ag bridges trust gap for stakeholders in agri-value chain

The Noida-headquartered startup says it eliminates the trust deficit in the grain commerce value chain through its integrated pan-India platform.
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Farmers who wish to receive greater value for the produce need to store it until the price is right. However, this is not possible without immediate access to finance as well as an integrated solution covering aggregation, quality assurance, storage, and market linkages. 

 

Run by Prasanna Rao, Anand Chandra, and Chattanathan Devarajan, Noida-based arya.ag aims to help farmers solve these challenges using its warehouse network and credit solutions. 

 

Prasanna Rao, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Arya.ag, tells YourStory about how the startup came to be. 

 

Prior to their Arya.ag journey, the co-founders were a part of the agri-banking division of ICICI Bank

“Our work required deep exposure to agro markets. A clear takeaway was that banks mainly served larger intermediaries and traders in tertiary agricultural markets, and the true benefits of banking services were yet to reach producers in the hinterland,” Prasanna says.

A Farmer Producer Organisation (FPO) trying to get a loan of Rs 10 lakh, for instance, needs to wait for over three months for a bank to even respond. “On the contrary, a loan of Rs two crore for a trader could be sanctioned within 48 hours,” he says.

 

The latent need of small farmers or FPOs, he says, was to have a storage solution at the farm gate with easy access to financial resources in form of loans for liquidity-related considerations.

 

Arya.ag was originally part of the JM Baxi Group. In 2013, the co-founders acquired a controlling stake in the company and established Arya.ag as a post-harvest integrated agri-commerce platform.

The startup claims to impact over 6.5 lakh farmers and 500 FPOs and ensures a growth of 15-25 percent in their value realisation, the startup claims. 

How it works

Arya.ag, integrates warehouse discovery, financing and market linkages to create an integrated digital platform that is accessible across the value chain from the small hold farmers to large corporates. The startup connects sellers and buyers of agri-produce with complete assurance on quantity, quality and payments. 

 

Currently, the startup has 10,000 warehouses across 25 states. 

Users can find and book a warehouse for their agri commodity, view their commodity real-time using Arya’s AI (artificial intelligence) enabled Remote Warehouse Vision, buy and sell commodity and access a range of finance options through Arya’s credit wallet such as buy now, pay later; a safe escrow mechanism and Arya Pay Safe guarantees. 

Arya.ag says it converts each bag of the farmer’s commodity into an electronic balance that can be stored, offered as security for a loan, or be sold at the click of a button. The platform’s price intelligence mechanism combined with immediate access to the farmers’ stocks – loaned and otherwise, enables them to make prompt and informed decisions on commodity sales. 

 

Its marketplace search engine connects sellers to buyers across the country and with its embedded logistics service, users can now seamlessly reach buyers in no time. 

Funding and monetisation

The startup recently concluded its Series C fundraise of $60 million. Earlier in December 2020, it had raised $21 million as part of Series B round. In March 2020, the firm secured $6 million as part of pre-Series B funding round. Its investors include Lightrock India, Quona Capital, Omnivore and Asia Impact SA.  

 

Arya’s revenues are built on the four pillars of the agchain – aggregation, storage solutions, financing solutions and market linkages. Currently, commodities worth about Rs 15000 crore flow through Arya,ag, the startup says. 

 

The platform expects its trading volume of Rs 1,500 crore to go up to about Rs 7,500 crore in the next 12 months. 

“Our platform seamlessly embeds financing, and we facilitate over $700 million of finance annually to maximize value for both sellers and buyers,” Prasanna says.

Arya.ag is also expanding its reach from about 55 percent of India's districts to about 75 percent of the districts in the next 12 months. 

 

This year Arya.ag is looking at revenue over Rs 300 crore propelled by over 2x growth in its financing books and a 12x growth in its commerce GTV (gross transaction value) numbers.

The way ahead

Bain reports that the agri market is a $370 billion sector. Agriculture in India continues to be dominated by small and marginal land holdings, and according to the report, agriculture’s contribution to the country’s gross value added (GVA) is about 20 percent. 

“We are working on integrating technology further to make these transactions, like digitisation of storage, adding embedded fintech layers and then enabling the commerce and commodity marketplace seamlessly,” Prasanna states. 

The startup says it is on course to cross the $1 billion commerce milestone in the next three quarters, bolstered by more than doubling of its storage and financing footprint. 

 

Other players operating in the space include Clover, DeHaat, Kamatan, Bijak, Ninjacart and Waycool among others.

Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti

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