CropIn Technology Solutions, an agriculture technology start-up, has raised Rs 58 crore (US$8 million) in a Series B financing from Chiratae Ventures (formerly IDG Ventures India) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Strategic Investment Fund (London and Seattle). The financing will scale CropIn’s ‘SmartFarm’ technology platform in India and globally to expand its reach from three million acres across two million farmers to more than 10 million actively monitored acres across seven million farmers. With this capital infusion and its increasingly rich data-set, the company will further develop its machine-learning-based ‘SmartRisk’ platform to achieve unprecedented levels of plot-level crop detection and yield prediction.
Headquartered in Bengaluru with 180+ customers across 29 countries, CropIn enables businesses in the agriculture-ecosystem to adopt a data-driven approach through its ground-to-cloud technology platform. It thus empowers agribusinesses to ‘grow more with less’, and drive initiatives around digitisation, traceability, predictability, sustainability and compliance. CropIn’s client portfolio includes many large global agribusinesses, banks, government bodies and development agencies. Through its product platform, CropIn addresses a global market of digital-based agriculture services that is estimated to hit US$4.5 billion by 2020.
The company’s initial product, SmartFarm, is a highly customisable mobile app and web interface for farm management deployed across agribusinesses’ own field agents allowing for business-to-business-to-farmer plot-level farm management. Because data is collected and curated by agribusiness employees active at the plot-level and scrubbed for any inconsistencies by CropIn, there is high-confidence that the information accurately reflects what is happening on the farm representing “ground-truth” data. CropIn then builds on this data to enhance traceability and monitoring for its agribusiness clients through various software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings.
“To feed the 9.7 billion people in the world in 2050, agriculture efficiency must increase by 35 percent to 70 percent and technology is the key. India’s rich mix of farming practices and small landholdings provide a massive data set to inform our models. Further, as a SaaS company, geography has never been a limiting factor for expanding our customer base. We are currently active in 29 countries throughout Asia, Africa, Latin America and in select European markets. As ground-truth information from these geographies continues to fill our data lake, it provides insights that create a paradigm shift in the agriculture ecosystem globally”, says CropIn Founder & CEO Krishna Kumar.
At the back-end, CropIn’s data lake amplifies this ground-truth data with local weather information and high-resolution satellite imagery, which form the foundation of machine learning. By analysing and interpreting this data for the 265 crops with nearly 3,500 variants on its platform across billions of data points that grow every day, CropIn is building an agri-information highway that will detect patterns and predict the future of the crop highlighting the risk and opportunity for agri stakeholders. CropIn provides near-real-time actionable insights to agriculture processors, distributors, inputs providers, lenders and insurers through its connector APIs. Additionally, CropIn’s algorithms can establish historical performance of every pixel at farm and regional level.
“We fundamentally believe in the founders’ vision of creating a global agri-tech leader, while partnering with multiple stakeholders including agribusinesses, farming companies, financial lending and insurance companies. The sheer impact of CropIn for their global customers across 29 countries based on the unique data sets captured by the platform, is staggering. The potential to revolutionise agriculture leveraging technology and machine learning has never been greater, and we believe Krishna and Kunal will continue to pioneer this industry for years ahead”, Karan Mohla, Executive Director, Chiratae Ventures India Advisors said..
With this investment, CropIn has raised a total funding of US$12 million till date.