Agri-tech startup CropIn raises Series B funding from Chiratae, Gates Foundation
Agri-tech firm CropIn Technology Solutions Pvt. Ltd has raised $8 million (Rs 58 crore) in its Series B round from venture capital firm Chiratae Ventures (formerly IDG Ventures India) and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, established by the Microsoft Corp. co-founder and his wife Melinda, a report said.
CropIn will use the money for expanding the reach of the platform in India as well as the globe, besides building a machine learning-based tech solution for plot-level crop detection and yield prediction, The Economic Times reported.
CropIn's farm management software and apps enable data-driven farming by connecting the various stakeholders of the agro-ecosystem. They provide users with real-time data and insights to improve the financial and operational aspects of agriculture.
The company was founded in 2010 by Krishna Kumar, a graduate in instrumentation and electronics engineering from Visvesvaraya Technological University. Before setting up the venture, he worked in various roles at General Electric.
CropIn works with businesses engaged in farming, seed production, agri-input as well as with banks, insurance companies, government bodies, and development agencies. It operates in 29 countries, mostly emerging markets, and claims to have digitised over 3.1 million acres of farmland while working with over 3,500 crop varieties globally.
The Bengaluru-based firm raised an undisclosed amount from Singapore-based early-stage fund Beenext in September last year. Its existing investors such as social venture funds Ankur Capital and BSP Fund also participated in the round. CropIn had previously raised $2 million from Denmark’s Sophia Investment ApS in August 2016.
Chiratae, which is investing out of its third fund, was known as IDG Ventures India until October this year. Chiratae (leopard in Kannada) was started in 2006 by Sudhir Sethi, TC Meenakshisundaram and Manik Arora, who left in 2015. Chiratae has so far invested in 76 companies in India. The list includes e-commerce major Flipkart (acquired by US-based retailer Walmart), eyewear e-tailer Lenskart, artificial intelligence company Manthan and software firm Newgen, a listed entity now.
The philanthropic Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation marked its first equity investment in India with Stellapps Technologies Pvt. Ltd, an Internet of Things (IoT) firm which operates in the dairy space, in May 2018.
The Foundation recently pledged money to the Bharat Inclusion Initiative project started by the incubation centre at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.