Indian agtech firm raises US$20m in latest funding round

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CropIn, a rapidly growing agtech firm based in India that combines pixel-level information from satellite imagery with IoT and field intelligence, has raised US$20 million in a Series C funding round led by ABC World Asia, an Asia-focused private equity fund dedicated to evidence-based impact investing. With this new round of investment, the company has raised a total funding of US$33.1 million to date.

CropIn will use its latest capital infusion to focus on its global expansion, while continuing to innovate its machine learning-based predictive analytics platform, SmartRisk, to further strengthen its AI capabilities. CropIn also recently opened an Amsterdam office, and will be hiring local leaders to drive growth in the European market.

CropIn says its data-driven farming solutions enable agri-enterprises and growers to ‘maximise per-acre value’. Its farm data and agronomy management platform, SmartFarm, empowers stakeholders to improve efficiency, productivity, predictability, and sustainability of their crop value-chains.

SmartFarm enables agri-enterprises to adhere to food safety standards, thereby ensuring farm-to-fork traceability, according to the company. The platform helps growers adopt sustainable farming practices to build long-term economic viability and resiliency for local farming communities. CropIn has partnered with several global players in agriculture, including development finance institutions and government entities in 52 countries, to drive their digital and sustainability goals.

CropIn claims its SmartRisk platform improves underwriting and risk assessment, enabling banks, insurance providers and other financial institutions to make informed underwriting decisions, identify new markets and expand product portfolios to service high-volume low-ticket opportunities. By analysing and interpreting farm-centric data for over 388 crops with nearly 9,500 variants across trillions of data points that grow every day, SmartRisk helps achieve high prediction accuracy at a plot-level. It does this by combining computer vision with deep-learning algorithms, on multispectral imagery derived from aerial scouting (satellites and drones), field scouting data, and hyperlocal weather.

The company says its SmartRisk AI has processed more than 160 million hectares of land area – and has the potential to impact 70 million farmers globally in the next 3-5 years. To date, CropIn has positively impacted 13 million acres and 4 million farmers through the SmartFarm and SmartRisk platforms. Smallholder farmers associated with CropIn’s clientele also observed their crop yields increasing by nearly 25% in the first year and subsequently experienced optimised yield improvements in the following years, by integrating the recommended advanced agricultural techniques and quality inputs into their farming practices through CropIn’s agri-tech platforms.

“The robust, predictive power of digitalisation offers tremendous potential for the agriculture industry to leapfrog its many challenges in the coming years,” said says Krishna Kumar, founder and CEO of CropIn.The industry is capturing more data than ever, on everything from agronomy, weather and logistics to market price volatility, which has helped reduce acute data gaps throughout the value chain. In order to improve yields, optimise production and improve resilience and sustainability, agri-businesses are increasingly relying on innovative agri-tech solutions like artificial intelligence, data analytics, and the internet of things. We, at CropIn, are excited to advance the ‘AI-Culture’ for Agriculture.

Sustainable food and agriculture is a core investment theme for ABC World Asia. The agriculture industry is an important pillar of the global economy, in particular driving Asia’s growth and feeding the region’s rapidly increasing population,” added David Heng, founder and CEO of ABC World Asia.

The industry now faces challenges more pronounced than before, with the COVID-19 global pandemic highlighting the vulnerability of global food supplies and impacting the livelihoods of many smallholder farmers. CropIn’s digital solutions will enable farmers to utilize real-time data for better decision-making and improved farm productivity. This investment underscores our support of such smart and sustainable agri-tech solutions that can build resilience in agriculture,” he continued.

Existing investors of CropIn include BeeNext and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Strategic Investment Fund (London and Seattle). Over the last year, CropIn has established an advisory board comprising Barrett Mooney (chairman of board at AgEagle), Ranveer Chandra (chief scientist at Microsoft), TVG Krishnamurthy (member of the board of directors at Ola), and Dr Iya Khalil (global head of the AI Innovation Center at Novartis).

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