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Impact investor Omnivore bets on agri-tech startup Fasal
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Agricultural technology firm Fasal has raised $1.6 million (Rs 11 crore) in its seed round of funding led by impact investor Omnivore and early-stage venture capital firm Wavemaker Partners.

Other investors that participated in the funding round include Mount Parker Ventures and Hong Kong-based Animoca and Japan’s Mistletoe.

Existing investors Zeroth, an artificial intelligence-machine learning accelerator, and Australia-based Artesian Ventures also contributed to the round, Fasal said in a statement.

Fasal, operated by Wolkus Technology Solutions Pvt. Ltd, said it will use the funds to build AI capabilities for each horticulture value chain and to launch a lower-cost installable version of its field sensor array.

Ananda Prakash Verma, co-founder at Fasal, said farmers are seeing major increases in profitability and huge water savings after using Fasal. “Ultimately, we will become a full-stack platform for horticulture farmers,” he said.

Fasal, which was launched in 2018 by Ananda Prakash Verma and Shailendra Tiwari, is an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered IoT-SaaS platform for horticulture. It captures real-time data on growing conditions from on-farm sensors and delivers farm-specific, actionable advisories to farmers via mobile in vernacular languages.

Verma, an alumnus of IIIT-Bangalore, earlier launched tech-media startup Fossbytes. Tiwari is an alumnus of National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), and earlier worked with companies like Decathlon.

The company claims that its field sensor array can be installed by farmers in less than 15 minutes and measures multiple dynamic variables, including micro-climate, soil, and crop conditions.

Fasal is presently operating in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh, but plans to expand pan-India and also enter markets across Southeast Asia.

Some of the horticulture value chains where Fasal is currently working include grapes, pomegranate, mango, citrus, tea, coffee, and chili.

Mark Kahn, managing partner at Omnivore, said the firm plans to help Fasal to accelerate the growth of their B2B2F business model by connecting them to leading agribusinesses across the region and on boarding the farmers

Other agri-tech deals

Fasal is one of several agri-tech startups that have raised funds in recent years, as entrepreneurs and investors look for solutions to solve myriad problems in India’s agriculture sector.

Agricxlab, Eruvaka, CropIn, Crofarm, LeanAgri and Ecozen Solutions are among the agri-tech startups that have also raised funding over the past year.

The most notable startup in this segment, however, is Ninjacart. The business-to-business agri-marketing platform raised $90 million from marquee US investment firm Tiger Global this year and around $35 million in a Series B funding round led by venture capital firm Accel and Swiss investor Syngenta Ventures in December last year.

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