Kisan Network, the tech enabled supply chain for Indian agriculture, announced that it has raised $3 million in an investment round led by Atsushi Taira at Mistletoe, with participation from Y Combinator, the Thiel Foundation, Venture Highway, FundersClub, Lynett Capital, Gokul Rajaram and other angels. Kisan Network will use the capital to rapidly expand its supply chain into new regions and crops across the country, and in the process, bring lakhs of more marginal farmers into the fold of shipping hundreds of trucks directly to businesses from their farms.
“This is a big milestone for our team. What started as a dinner table conversation with my father and co-founder, and subsequently became my Computer Science undergraduate thesis project at a Princeton University dorm a few years ago, has now developed into a thriving organization of 70 and growing, serving more than 55,000 farmers across thousands of villages in India,” said Aditya Agarwalla, Co-Founder and CEO at Kisan Network. “We have come a long way, but still have an even longer way to go. With this funding and the building blocks of our supply chain in place, we believe that we are the cusp of becoming an even larger PAN India player in the market.”
Kisan Network was founded to tackle the issue of distrust faced by marginal farmers in the agricultural ecosystem in India. This distrust manifests itself in the form of several hurdles that farmers all over the country face each time they need to sell their produce such as (i) Opaque pricing (ii) Limited knowledge about best markets to sell produce to (iii) Delayed cash and instalment based payments after sale (iv) Poor local logistical support. These hurdles, while well documented, have been present for generations with little to no improvement at a large enough scale to impact farmers directly. As a result, farmers feel they are mere spectators, with limited decision making power and constantly in fear of being exploited by others in the trade while engaging in any form of financial transaction.
Kisan Network tackles this pressing issue of distrust by addressing the two primary reasons behind it:
(i) Access to information - market prices, detailed crop quality reports, transportation rates and every other minute detail that makes a crop sale possible. All of these are readily made available to a Kisan Network farmer, and (ii) Resources to act on the information — via Kisan Network’s PAN India farmer to business supply chain that brings together all stakeholders (such as buyers, transporters and packaging partners) on one platform. All of this is tech enabled throughout with 0% use of paper and digital on-time payments directly to farmers.
With these two at his disposal, a farmer is finally able to trust the system and is well equipped to face the hurdles in the crop selling process. In addition to these benefits, Kisan Network makes the farmer the centre of the ecosystem by improving his crop selling experience. In other words, it treats the farmer like an entrepreneur.
To drive this change, the entire Kisan Network team has worked extensively over the past few years establishing the building blocks of a farmer first supply chain with 3 important pillars – (i) Digitally enabled supply chain transparency with 100% granular data acquisition (ii) Data and process driven standardization including the use of Computer Vision to remotely assess physical quality characteristics of crops, and (iii) End to end integration from farm to business, without needing the farmer to even leave his farms premises.
As a result of the value provided to farmers, Kisan Network has been able to on-board more than 55,000 farmers across 6,000 villages in multiple states including Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka & the North Eastern States. Produce has travelled over 275,000 km over 65 unique PAN India routes, with a 100% of the procurement coming directly from farmers.
“We see immense value in Kisan Network's focus in providing market linkages directly to farmers, and their progress so far in building out each aspect of their tech enabled supply chain is highly promising,” said Atsushi Taira, Managing Director at Mistletoe Singapore. “We are excited to partner with them in scaling rapidly to every nook and corner of the country, and empowering farmers to become entrepreneurs by providing various kinds of services through Kisan Network.”
In addition to growing its PAN India network, Kisan Network intends to use a portion of this investment round to introduce new farmer centric products and services, further details of which will be shared in due course.
About Kisan Network
Kisan Network is a tech enabled PAN India agri produce supply chain company. Its asset light supply chain connects marginal farmers (who form almost all of India’s 100m+ cultivator population) directly to businesses anywhere in the country for the sale of their produce, with each step digitally captured and monitored on its proprietary management portal involving 0% use of paper. In the process, Kisan Network addresses the deep rooted issue of distrust that farmers experience in the existing crop selling process, and also help them make more money than in the opaque and fragmented current system. Its farmer strength is more than 55,000 across 6,000 villages in India. The company was founded by the father-son duo of Sanjay and Aditya Agarwalla, and its headquarters are in Gurugram, Haryana.