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Agritech Startup AgroStar Acquires INI Farms To Enter Food Supply Chain

AgroStar would provide market linkage solutions for the domestic and export markets to its large network of farmers through this acquisition

The agritech startup raised $70 Mn in Series D funding in December last year

It would target the entire F&V segment and expand markets in the EU and North America

B2B agri-inputs startup AgroStar has announced complete acquisition (100%) of Mumbai-based startup INI Farms, through a combination of cash and stock deal. 

Through this acquisition, AgroStar said it will provide more value to its large network of farmers by making their produce available to consumers around the globe. Further, this deal provides a scaled presence to AgroStar in more than $300 Bn agri-output market in India. 

When contacted, the startup declined sharing the deal value.  

However, Shardul Sheth, cofounder and CEO of AgroStar told Inc42, “We will now target the entire F&V basket in terms of crops. In terms of markets, we would focus on the EU and North America primarily.” 

Through this acquisition, INI Farms’ global retail customers will get access to a wider basket of fruits and vegetables (F&V). INI Farms has confirmed to Inc42 that it is now going to venture into the vegetables segment and would start with export of onions and vegetables and include more crops in future. 

Moreover, Agrostar raised $70 Mn in Series D funding in December last year from Evolvence, global asset manager Schroders Capital, Hero Enterprise, and the United Kingdom’s development finance institution CDC. When asked about AgroStar’s total valuation, the startup declined to comment.  

Founded in 2013 by Sitanshu Sheth and Shardul Sheth, AgroStar leverages data and technology to solve farmers’ problems of access to good quality agri-inputs and bridge knowledge gaps. The startup claims it has benefited more than 5 Mn farmers so far.

“AgroStar today is India’s largest digital network of farmers, helping them grow better by providing great content, real time advisory and superior quality agri Inputs. This acquisition will enable us to rapidly scale our business into the domestic and international food supply chains,” said Sheth.

Founded in 2009, by Pankaj Khandelwal and Purnima Khandelwal, INI Farms handles over 50,000 tons of fruits annually. The startup operates pan India, and deals in contract farming, aggregation, supply chain management and serving food retailers globally. 

Through its program ‘Fruit Route’ INI Farms provides farm-to-fork traceability for its produce. INI Farms claims it enables farmers to grow crops that meet global standards in quality and safety resulting them earning upto 50% higher returns. 

“With AgroStar serving farmers across a diverse range of crops, INI Farms will have access to a much wider and diverse crop base to offer to our global customers,” said Pankaj Khandelwal, chairman and MD, INI Farms. 

INI Farms’s Kimaye brand of products are available in some of the largest retail chains spread across 35 countries in the world, the startup claims. 

Meanwhile, despite being called India’s ‘backbone’, the agriculture sector continues to lag behind. It contributes 16.5% of India’s gross domestic product (GDP) and employs 43% of the Indian workforce. However, it faces many challenges from poor yield to traditional mechanisms of operations which stifle financial growth.

To solve this problem, a slew of agritech startups have sprung across the country. India is now home to more than 1,000 agritech startups.

Last year, agritech startups raised close to $684 Mn across 47 deals. In total, the agritech sector has raised $1 Bn in funding between 2014 and 2021.

Startups such as DeHaat, Ninjacart, Agrowave, BharatAgri, BigHaat, Bijak, Gramophone, Krishify, Cropin and many others have revolutionised the sector. 

An Inc42 report estimates India’s addressable agritech market to take off and reach $24.1 Bn by 2025.

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