Aibono Smart Farming Pvt. Ltd, which offers an artificial intelligence-powered fresh food aggregation platform, has raised $2.5 million (Rs 17.5 crore) in a pre-Series A funding round led by social-impact investor Menterra Venture Advisors.
Others who took part in the round include The Artha Initiatives of Switzerland-based impact investor Rianta Capital, Silicon Valley-based Milliways Ventures, Tokyo- and Singapore-based venture capital firm Rebright Partners and venture capital firm 3one4 Capital.
Aibono said in a statement on Monday it will use the funds to power its next phase of growth that involves getting more farmers and standalone retailers onto its network, besides strengthening its logistics infrastructure and team. The company has more than 400 farmers and 250 retailers on its network currently.
Founded by IIT Madras graduate Vivek Rajkumar, Aibono began operations in 2014 by offering AI-powered precision farming solutions to help farmers use analytics, Internet of Things and data science to improve yield.
The company has since expanded its offerings to synch precision farming with real-time demand and just-in-time harvesting. The solution synchronises cropping matrix and predictive harvesting at the farm with retailer consumption data. Aibono claims this seed-to-plate approach will mitigate the risk of high perishability of fresh farm produce and help farmers get better prices and reduce wastage.
“Aibono pioneers a technology disruption solving the lows yields and sub-optimal price realization for farmers and inconsistent supply of safe fresh produce to consumers,” said Mukesh Sharma, co-founder and managing director, Menterra Venture Advisors.
The larger agri-tech industry has been attracting considerable venture capital interest in recent times.
Also on Monday, TartanSense, which builds robots for small farms, raised $2 million in a seed funding round led by venture capital firms Omnivore, Blume Ventures and Beenext.
Last week, agri-tech startup LeanAgri raised seed funding in a round led by venture capital firm India Quotient. LeanAgri works to design solutions for optimising farming in India by improving productivity and reducing the cost of production for farmers.
Last month, Punjab-based agri-analytics startup AgNext Technologies Pvt.Ltd raised funds from early-stage venture capital firm Kalaari Capital. AgNext focuses on horticulture and plantation crops.
In December, Bengaluru-based agri-marketing platform NinjaCart secured Rs 250 crore in a Series B funding round led by US-based Accel and Switzerland-based agri-investor Syngenta Ventures.