Indian Arya raises $60 million to provide farmers with financial and post-harvest services – TechCrunch

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Indian agritech start-up Arya, which reaches hundreds of thousands of farmers in the South Asian market and helps them store and sell their produce and obtain credit, raised $60 million in a new round of funding as it enters a new phase of growth.

Asia Impact SA, Lightrock India and Quona Capital co-led the $42m Series C funding round. US International Development France Corporation and others provided additional debt of $18 million. The new round values ​​the eight-year-old Noida-based startup at $300 million, a person familiar with the matter said.

Arya tries to solve three challenges that have plagued Indian farmers for decades. Only around a third of the yields they produce reach the big markets, where most sales occur, creating an uneven concentration that continues to deprive millions of farmers of the ability to store and sell their produce effectively.

The vast majority of farmers struggle to find buyers for their crops, and they usually experience a shortage of cash until they have sold the produce.

Arya, co-founded by Prasanna Rao, is tackling this problem through a network of almost 10,000 warehouses, up from around 1,500 a year ago, and has established a presence in 21 Indian states. By making these warehouses available to farmers near their farms, the startup has enabled them to be able to store their products for the first time.

The warehouse is designed to store farmers’ grain products for about three months and provides them with insurance coverage. Farmers are able to monitor in real time when produce leaves their farm to the nearby warehouse, establishing a level of transparency and trust that is crucial for wooing farmers, Rao said in an interview with TechCrunch.

At the warehouse, Arya also helps farmers connect with buyers and offers them the opportunity to negotiate prices. “Because we hold the merchandise in our warehouses, we have complete visibility into quantity and quality. This is how we are able to establish a connection between buyer and seller,” he said, adding that the startup has visibility into grain worth over $2 billion. dollars on its platform.

The startup has developed a level of sophistication that allows it to set up a new warehouse in two days in any region it needs, he said. Arya does not own these warehouses and instead reorganizes warehouses owned by other companies. There are over 100,000 such warehouses spread across the country and most of them are underutilized.

Arya works with farmer associations to reach out to farmers. Farmers can use the Arya.ag website or use traditional means such as in-person guidance to use the platform and clear up any confusion.

But the work is not done there.

As we have seen in the case of tens of millions of neighborhood shops in India, farmers are also heavily dependent on the income they earn from selling their current batches of produce before they can start a new growing season.

Arya works with banks and non-banking financial institutions to help these farmers obtain loans, allowing them to return to work while their produce is sold. The $18 million it raised in debt in the new round is intended to provide credit to farmers that financial institutions do not find creditworthy, he said, adding that over the past year, the startup increased its funding portfolio by three times.

“Arya’s unparalleled reach in rural India, coupled with its technology-driven integrated service model, has made it one of the fastest growing agribusiness platforms in India,” said Varun Malhotra. , a partner at Quona Capital, in a statement. “Arya succeeds in bridging the trust gap in post-harvest agricultural transactions through complete transparency and assurance on quality, quantity and payments. We are excited to deepen our partnership with Arya.

Once a neglected sector, dozens of startups and tech giants are exploring ways to tap into what is one of the largest annual grain harvests in the world. IIndia’s agri-tech industry has the potential to reach around $24 billion in revenue by 2025, according to consultancy EY.

Amazon recently started offering real-time advice and information to farmers to help inform their crop decisions. Microsoft is working with 100 villages to deploy AI and build a platform.

Rao said it was encouraging to see more industry players paying attention to the sector. He said Arya alone hopes to have a network of more than 60,000 warehouses in the next four years and is also evaluating the acquisition of smaller startups to fuel faster growth.

“During the pandemic, we have seen Arya transform agribusiness across India,” Matteo Pusineri, director of Asia Impact SA, said in a statement.

“Arya will help realize Asia Impact’s vision of integrating underserved rural farming communities across Asia with large-scale markets. We are confident that Arya, under the leadership of Prasanna Rao, Anand Chandra and Chattanathan Devarajan, will greatly contribute to a unique ecosystem supporting rural India’s sustainable growth story.

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