Madhya Pradesh-based agritech startup Farmkart, which offers a wide range of agricultural products and services to farmers through its e-commerce platform, is planning to raise Rs 90 crore in Series A funding from venture capitalists for expansion across the country.
"At present we are functioning at 1,240 locations in Madhya Pradesh. We plan to begin our immediate expansion to 8,000 locations in Maharashtra, Gujarat, southern region and reach one lakh (locations) by December 2021, across the country in next one year. Initially, we had invested Rs 15 crore in this venture and are looking to raise Rs 90 crore in Series A funding through venture capitalists," Farmkart founder Atul Patidar told PTI.
Recently in one of the episodes of "Mann Ki Baat", Prime Minister Narendra Modi lauded the efforts of Patidar to digitally connect farmers and deliver farming items to their doorsteps. Farmkart's tech solutions are designed for non-tech savvy farmers providing them with fertilisers, pesticides, fungicides, seeds, farm equipment, among others at their doorsteps with no delivery cost.
Besides, farmers can also rent modern farm equipment from Farmkart''s e-commerce platform. Patidar said the company has tie-ups with top brands, both domestic as well as international, for its e-commerce platform. "We have tied-up with almost all major international and domestic brands for seeds, fertilisers, fungicides and pesticides. We have tie-ups for farm equipment and are looking to add more in this category," he added.
The agri-startup's UIC (unique identity code) is India's first digital agronomist, a card with a 9-digit identity, which helps a farmer select a product based on his farm profile. UIC can be recharged with any amount to make online payments. To buy a product, a farmer just needs to punch in this 9-digit code. This nationwide expansion will entail adding more manpower, for which the company is to recruit from business schools, Patidar said.
"Currently we have 102 people directly working for us. Our expansion will need more than 3,000 additional workforce in marketing, sales, software, business development, agronomics, among others. We will also need on-ground sales professionals who can explain our product offerings to farmers in a simple manner," he said.
The company also provides college students and villagers an additional income to do delivery in their own villages. "We connect with students or other villagers when they travel to the city on some work and ask them to deliver the products ordered in their village for a fee. This helps in providing an additional income to these people who anyways would have visited the city on their own work. Going forward, we plan to expand on this delivery model across the country," Patidar added.
The company is also developing a kiosk, which will be like an ATM machine, that will enable farmers to seamlessly order products from Farmkart's e-platform. "The prototype of this kiosk will be ready in two years'' time. When it is ready, we plan to install them across villages pan-India. This will make it easy for farmers to place their orders," Patidar added.
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