Agri-tech startup FarmLink raises $3 mn from Pioneering Ventures, Syngenta
Photo Credit: Shah Junaid/VCCircle

Mumbai-based agri-tech startup FarmLink Agri Distribution And Market Linkage Pvt. Ltd has raised $3 million (Rs 20 crore) from the Indian arms of Swiss incubator-cum-investment firm Pioneering Ventures and agro-chemicals company Syngenta AG.

FarmLink, an end-to-end logistics solutions provider for supplying fruits and vegetables, will use the money to expand its geographical reach and strengthen its technology and analytics capabilities in the supply chain segment, the company said.

“FarmLink’s focus is to develop India’s underserved regions. It is associated with more than 700 farmers to improve the quality and quantity of their produce. The company intends to reduce agricultural wastage by streamlining the value chain to less than 5% from the country’s average of 30%,” it said.

Incubated in 2014 by Pioneering Ventures, the company procures fruits and vegetables directly from farmers through a network of collection and service centres, and delivers the products to modern retail stores, quick service restaurant chains, industrial processors and e-commerce food platforms.

It also helps farmers to generate income with all-round support to improve productivity and quality. “We aim to transform the way fresh produce is grown and distributed in India by introducing global best practices. We also empower the farmers by providing knowledge and extension services such as agricultural credit, crop insurance and warehousing,” said Sreeram Chellappa, COO, FarmLink.

The company is in the final stages of implementing FarmTrace, a proprietary B2C consumer traceability app, which would allow consumers to track the product from farm-to-shelf, giving insights into when, where and how the food was grown.

FarmLink, which procures over 20 tonnes of fresh fruits and vegetables every day, operates across Karnataka, Telangana and Maharashtra. The produce is supplied to the company’s primary markets in Mumbai and Bengaluru through large multi-national and retail franchises such as Star Bazaar and Vista Processed Foods.

Peer pressure

It competes with the likes of Gold Farm, CropIn Technology Solutions Pvt. Ltd, EM3 Agri Services Pvt. Ltd, Crofarm and Paalak.in.

In October, Gold Farm had raised $2 million in seed funding from farm equipment and automobile manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra and early-stage venture catalyst Infuse Ventures.

In September CropIn had raised an undisclosed amount in pre-Series A funding from Singapore-based early-stage fund Beenext.

August saw Noida-based EM3 Agri Services Pvt. Ltd, which offers on-demand farming services and machinery, raising $10 million in a Series B round led by London-based Global Innovation Fund. Existing investor Aspada Investments, which had put in $3.3 million in the company’s Series A round in June 2015, had also participated in the round.

Crofarm, which works on the same model as FarmLink, had raised $783,000 in a pre-Series A round led by US-based venture development firm Factor[e] Ventures. Google India managing director Rajan Anandan and PayU India managing director Jitendra Gupta had also invested in the round.

Rivals Paalak.in and Gurgaon-based FarMart, which lends farming equipment, had also raised money this year. While Paalak.in raised an undisclosed amount in seed funding from a clutch of angel investors, Indian Angel Network had invested an undisclosed amount FarMark.

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