DeHaat, an online platform that provides farmers with comprehensive agricultural services, has raised $ 12 million to expand their network across India.
The series A financial round for the eight-year-old startup from Patna and Gurgaon was led by Sequoia Capital India. The Dutch bank for entrepreneurial development FMO and the existing investors Omnivore and AgFunder also took part in the round. The startup, which started receiving funds from external investors last year, has raised $ 16 million and venture capital of $ 3 million to date.
DeHaat (meaning Hindi village) takes the pressure off farmers by bringing brands, institutional financiers and buyers together on one platform, Shashank Kumar, co-founder and CEO of the startup, said in an interview with theinformationsuperhighway.
The platform helps farmers secure thousands of agricultural products, including seeds and fertilizers, and receives tailored advice on the harvest to sow in one season. "We have created a comprehensive database of crop tests to advise farmers," he said.
DeHaat, which has 242 employees, also helps them get in touch with 200 institutional partners to provide working capital to farmers and helps them post-season earnings to major customers such as Reliance Fresh, the startup for food delivery Zomato, for sale and business-to-business e-commerce giant Udaan.
DeHaat currently operates in 20 regional hubs in eastern India – countries like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand – and serves more than 210,000 farmers, said Kumar.
The startup has built a network of hundreds of micro entrepreneurs in rural areas who distribute agricultural goods from their regional hubs to farmers and then return production to the same hub.
"We have an app in the local languages and a helpline switch that allows farmers, many of whom do not have a smartphone, to reach us and explain their vulnerabilities and needs," he said.
DeHaat does not charge a fee for his advice, but makes a cut if farmers use their platform to buy agricultural commodities or sell their crops.
The startup will use the fresh capital to expand its network to 2,000 rural retail centers, have more micro-entrepreneurs on the last mile for delivery, and reach 1 million farmers by June next year, Kumar said. DeHaat is also working on automating its supply chain and developing more complex data analysis.
At stake is India's $ 350 billion agricultural market serving nearly 100 million smallholders and independent farmers, said Abhishek Mohan, VP of Sequoia Capital India. the VC fund that issues more checks than anyone else in the country.
“Thanks to simple regulation, the organization of farmers and the increasing spread of smartphones, this industry is facing massive change. DeHaat uses these trends to build the next generation product in the agricultural supply chain, ”said Mohan in a statement.
“The turning point that led Sequoia India to choose to work with them was the field visit, where farmers expressed how proud they were to be connected to a platform they believed they had really works in their favor. This effect and the deep brand loyalty result from the razor-sharp focus, the deep empathy and the good execution of the management team, ”he added.