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Agri-tech startup CropIn raises 58 crores Indian rupees in Series B financing

AGRICULTURE tech startup CropIn Technology Solutions has raised 58 crores Indian rupees (S$11.09 million) in Series B financing from Chiratae Ventures (formerly IDG Ventures India) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Strategic Investment Fund.

With this latest investment, Bengaluru-based CropIn has raised U$12 million in total from investors to date, including Singapore-based, early stage venture capital firm BEENEXT.

The Series B financing will be used to scale CropIn’s "SmartFarm" technology platform to boost its reach globally from three million acres (1.2 million hectares) across two million farmers, to over 10 million acres across seven million farmers.  With this capital injection, the company will further develop its machine-learning-based "SmartRisk" platform, it said in a press statement.

The company’s initial product, SmartFarm, is a mobile app and Web interface for farm management.  Data is collected and curated by agribusiness employees at the plot-level and scrubbed for any inconsistencies by CropIn. CropIn then builds on this data to enhance traceability and monitoring for its agribusiness clients through various software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings.

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CropIn also takes into account local weather information and high-resolution satellite imagery. By analysing and interpreting this data for 265 crops with nearly 3,500 variants on its platform, it will detect patterns and predict the future of the crop, highlighting the risk and opportunity for agri stakeholders. Meanwhile, its algorithms can establish historical performance at the farm and regional level, the startup highlighted.

CropIn's client portfolio includes many large global agribusinesses, banks, government bodies and development agencies, it said in a press statement. The global market of digital-based agriculture services is estimated to grow to US$4.5 billion by 2020.

CropIn founder and chief executive officer Krishna Kumar, said: “To feed the 9.7 billion people in the world in 2050, agriculture efficiency must increase by 35 to 70 per cent and technology is the key. India’s rich mix of farming practices and small landholdings provide a massive data set to inform our models."

The company is active throughout Asia, Africa, Latin America and in select European markets.