India’s CropIn Raises $8m Series B to Digitize Smallholder Farms at Scale

November 21, 2018

CropIn Technology Solutions, an Indian agriculture technology startup, has raised Rs58 crores ($8 million) in Series B financing from Chiratae Ventures (formerly IDG Ventures India) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Strategic Investment Fund.

The round takes CropIn’s total funding to-date to $12 million.

The startup will use the funding to scale its ‘SmartFarm’ technology platform in India and globally to expand its reach to 10 million ‘actively-monitored acres’ across 7 million farmers. Currently, CropIn is in use across 3 million acres and 2 million farmers in 29 countries throughout Asia, Africa, Latin America, and some European markets. Its customers include global agribusinesses, banks, government bodies, and development agencies in a business-to-business-to-farmer model.

CropIn uses remote sensing, big data and machine learning to help customers analyze the fields at the plot-level — Indian farms are typically smallholdings of just a few hectares each, requiring technologies to be applicable at the plot-level.

The ‘SmartRisk’ platform offers yield prediction and traceability and, by detecting patterns in crop growth, using weather information and satellite imaging, it can predict the state of the crops in the future, along with potential risks and opportunities for its clients. It can then provide near-real-time actionable insights to agriculture processors, distributors, inputs providers, lenders and insurers which can connect to the platform through its API.

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, according to a statement.

“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. 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”, said CropIn founder & CEO Krishna Kumar in a statement.

CropIn is currently collecting data on 265 crops with nearly 3,500 variants on its platform across billions of data points that grow every day. Additionally, CropIn’s algorithms can establish historical performance of every pixel at the farm and regional level.

“We fundamentally believe in the Founders’ vision of creating a global agri-tech leader, while partnering with multiple stakeholders including agri-businesses, farming companies, financial lending & 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 revolutionize 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”, said Karan Mohla, executive director at Chiratae Ventures in a statement.

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