dehaat is connecting with farmers as agri-tech booms.
Indian agritech startup DeHaat – meaning ‘village in Hindi’ – has raised $12 million in their Series A funding round led by Sequoia Capital India, bringing their total funding up to $16 million. Dutch entrepreneurial development bank FMO and existing investors including Omnivore and Agfunder participated in the round.
Founded in 2012, DeHaat is an online platform and marketplace that provides full-stack agricultural services to over 200,000 farmers in India. With the newly secured investment, they aim to reach 1 million farmers by June next year. DeHaat’s digital supply-chain offers insights and advice to farmers as well as connecting them to an exhaustive network of resources, agri-input products, potential buyers and sources of capital.
In India, nearly 70% of the population live in rural areas, and traditionally this has been reflected in slow technology penetration rates despite the country being the second largest producer of farm outputs in the world. In 2018, agriculture also contributed 18% of India’s GDP. Even today, many farmers are without access to information and digital assets that other agricultural markets take for granted. These hurdles often found in developing countries have been partly addressed by DeHaat, who have integrated various local languages into their app as well as having a helpline to extend their advisory services to those without a smartphone.
India’s agricultural industry, however, is dramatically changing. As access to electricity and smartphones increase, along with rising internet speeds and lower cost data, India’s agricultural sector is experiencing a rapid digital transformation. Where previously many farmers relied on written accounts and intuition to predict weather patterns – an approach less reliable as weather events become more erratic – smartphones are providing more and more farmers with vital and accurate weather forecasts that enable them to avoid catastrophic losses.
India’s agri-tech industry seems set to grow in-line with these developments. Currently, there are over 450 startups in the sector – including the likes of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation supported CropIn – but with funding up by 300% in 2019 from the previous year, it’s likely that confidence in the industry will continue its upward trend. DeHaat is firmly in the cohort of agri-tech startups that are connecting with farmers as these shifts happen, enriching the agri-tech ecosystem through innovation and empathy.