Technology giant Microsoft has rolled out a programme to boost the growth of agritech startups in India.
Dubbed Microsoft for agritech startups, the programme is designed to help companies build industry-specific solutions, scale, and grow with access to deep technology, business and marketing resources, according to a statement.
Selected startups will also receive access to the Redmond, Washington-based company’s Azure FarmBeats.
Microsoft began developing FarmBeats in 2015 and launched it in 2019 as a public preview. The solution combines Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to build technology resources for the agriculture sector.
FarmBeats is an industry-specific solution built on top of Azure. It helps users gather data from different resources, fuse different sets of data, build AI/ML models and even develop customised agriculture solutions.
“Sustainable agricultural technology can transform the global food landscape. Agritech startup innovations are addressing some of our key challenges connected to agriculture and food production,” Sangeeta Bavi, director, Startup Ecosystem, Microsoft India, said.
The programme is spread across three tiers; all startups, co-sell startups, co-create solutions, the statement added.
Under all startups, the qualified seed to Series C startups can boost their businesses with Azure benefits, and unlimited technical support.
Co-sell startups can scale quickly with joint go-to-market strategies, technical support, and new sales opportunities with Microsoft’s partner ecosystem. Meanwhile, startups under co-create solutions will have the opportunity to co-build customised solutions with Azure FarmBeats without investing in deep data engineering resources.
The agritech sector in India has seen an active flow of investments through the first half of 2020, with 14 funding deals and one merger so far. The funding deals, one with an undisclosed value, totalled to $59.5 million.
Microsoft has been working on designing customised solutions for different industries. Industry watchers speculate that automotive, banking, energy, manufacturing, retail are among top focus areas for the company. Last month, it kicked off its first vertical cloud offering by launching Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare.
In India, the company launched a suite of solutions to help small and medium healthcare providers.