National bank for agriculture and rural development (NABARD) felicitated five Agritech startups for their promising role in agriculture on the occasion of the 38th Foundation Day of the government-backed National bank.
These promising five Agritech startups included dairy startup Stellapps Technologies, biotech startup Sea6 Energy, aqua-farming startup Eruvaka Technologies, rural e-commerce platform InThree (BoonBox) and packaged foods startup Kottaram Agro foods (Soulful).
Anurag Thakur, Minister of State, said in his inaugural address, “India needs to create agripreneurs for which skilling and tech-enabled services are crucial. Agri-based e-commerce platforms, farm monitoring, linking with fintech will help make youths become agripreneurs. While, the government is supporting the sector significantly, the public-private partnership is essential for boosting the agriculture start-up culture in India, which could be a new engine for employment.”
Among the 50 agritech startups including these five startups, Nabard has funded through 16 Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) with an outlay of INR 272 Cr.
NABARD has set up an agritech, agriculture, rural business and food-focused early to mid-stage startup fund -“NABVENTURES” recently in May set a target of INR 500 Cr with greenshoe option of INR 200 Cr.
The first close of the fund is over with an investment of INR 200 Cr from NABARD. It is expected to release around INR 1000 Cr into agri and rural startups.
Dr Harsh Kumar Bhanwala, NABARD chairman, speaking at the event said, “The bank will fund around 100 agriculture and rural startups in this financial year to boost innovations and farm entrepreneurship.” He also added that the bank is looking to cross the mark of INR 5 Lakh Cr. asset size in FY2019-20.
At the end of the financial year 2018-19, NABARD’s balance sheet stood at INR 4.87 Lakh Cr with INR 3.365 Cr as its total net profit. Even, the bank is expecting to borrow around INR 55K Cr. for its long term funding requirements during the year.
Let’s know shortly about these five startups recognized by NABARD for their innovative contribution to agriculture.
It’s a Bengaluru-based dairy-tech startup founded by Ranjith Mukundan and Venkatesh Seshasayee in 2011. Stellapps provide you the facility of digitization and optimization of milk production, milk procurement, and cold chain management through its IoT solution — SmartMoo, which helps dairy farmers and cooperatives to maximize profits with minimal effort.
It’s a biofuel startup based in Bengaluru founded by Shrikumar Suryanarayan, Nelson Vadassery, Sri Sailaja Nori, and Sowmya Balendiran in 2010. It’s primary focus is to derive ethanol fuel from seaweed (particularly red seaweed) that can replace non-renewable energy sources which are generally derived from fossil fuels.
The company also get funding from Tata Capital, Shrikumar Suryanarayan, former R&D head of Biocon and the Indian Department of Biotechnology among others.
It’s a rural e-commerce startup founded by Ramachandran Ramanathan, Karthik Natarajan, and Narayanan in 2013. Boonbox has developed the expertise and capability to build and manage the commerce ecosystem in rural areas with the help of technology.
The company has raised a $4 Mn Series A round led by Ventureast in August 2018.
It’s a Vijaywada based aqua tech startup founded by Sreeram Raavi in 2012. Eruvaka innovated connected devices and mobile-based decision tools for affordable monitoring and automation of aquaculture farms.
The company raised an undisclosed amount of Series B fundingled by Nutreco, along with participation from investor Omnivore in April 2018.
Kottaram Agro Foods (Soulful)
It’s a Bengaluru-based packaged-food company founded by Prashant Parameswaran in 2011, which processes traditional crops such as ragi into attractive breakfast and snack into flakes, ragi bites, muesli, and ready-to-cook oat-millet meals.