AgroStar, an e-commerce marketplace for buying farming goods and resources has raised $10 million in a series B round led by Accel India with participation from other investors like IDG Ventures and Aavishkaar, reports TOI. The company will use the fresh funds to expand their services in states like Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, and also to hire new talent.
The company had earlier raised $3.5 million in August 2015 from IDG and Aavishkaar and also counts Snapdeal founders Rohit Bansal and Kunal Bahl as early stage investors.
Founded in 2013 by Shardul Sheth and Sitanshu Sheth, the platform lets farmers buy resources and products like seeds, pesticides, crop nutrition, and other agri-hardware products by just giving a missed call to a number or by downloading a mobile app. The company will then ship products from its warehouse to the doorsteps of the customer. It uses state transport systems or private courier services for logistics, according to the report.
The company currently operates in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Gujarat, servicing to more than 10 lakh farmers. It claims to have more than 150 companies and agriculture manufacturers like DuPont and Monsanto selling their products on the AgroStar platform. It also claims to complete close to 5000 transactions on a daily basis and gets 2 lakh missed calls from farmers monthly.
Other online initiatives in agricultural sector
National Agricultural Market: The Indian government last year launched an online trading platform for farmers, allowing them to sell their produce to wholesale agricultural markets and buyers. The platform also received Rs 200 crore investment from the government in 2015.
-AGMARKNET Scheme: The AGMARKNET initiative directed by the Ministry of Agriculture provides daily mandi rates through its online website. It also has two mobile apps—Kisan Suvidha & AgriMarket, which helps farmers procure information on crop insurance and prices of agricultural commodities.
-e-Choupal by ITC: e-Choupal is a platform for sourcing raw materials and selling FMCG products online, which was set up in rural locations by ITC, in partnership with local entrepreneurs. Outlets set up under the project offer farmers services such as crop advisories, advance weather forecasts, output price discovery, direct communication tools, etc.