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Saturday, October 24, 2020

Agritech startup Vegrow raises $2.5M led by Matrix Partners India & Ankur Capital

Vegrow, an agritech startup focused on aggregating small farms, announced today that it has raised $2.5M in seed capital from Matrix Partners India and Ankur Capital. The round also saw participation from Better Capital, Titan Capital as well as prominent angel investors including Mr. Sanjiv Rangrass – CEO of ITC Ltd Agri Business Division, Rohit MA – Founder of Cloud 9, Ramakant Sharma – Founder of Livsapce and Amit Lakhotia – Founder of Park+.

Founded by Praneeth Kumar, Shobhit Jain, Mrudhukar Batchu and Kiran Naik, Vegrow is on a mission to build the world’s biggest asset-light farm by partnering with small farms on a profit-sharing model. Vegrow increases the net earnings of partner farmers by leveraging technology across different stages of the farming cycle – it helps them in crop planning, gives them access to quality inputs, monitors their adherence to best practices and ultimately sells their harvest to the right set of buyers.

All four founders hail from IIT and have a deep-seated understanding of the agriculture sector. Both Praneeth and Shobhit started their professional career at the Agri Business Division of ITC, where they worked on multiple initiatives ranging from streamlining the agri-inputs supply chain for ITC farmers to developing new export markets for their products. Thereafter, Praneeth joined Agrostar, where he was leading strategic initiatives for the company. Mrudhukar, who was Director of Product at Chronus before co-founding Vegrow, has a strong family background in farming and has spent a significant amount of time in passion farming, and Kiran has spent over 1.5 years living in different farms devising solutions for farmers’ problems.

Praneeth Kumar, Co-founder, Vegrow said, “Our collective experience of working on multiple agri initiatives led us to realise that, with the right set of tech interventions, farming can be a highly remunerative business. We validated this hypothesis by farming on our own, and in this process, we also developed a deeper understanding of the nuances of farming.”

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Shobhit Jain, Co-founder, Vegrow added, “From the humble beginning of farming ourselves, we now see a vision of becoming the world’s largest farmer. We are partnering with farmers and building value chains for identified commodities. We are investing in farm tech & supply chain tech to help us realise a higher value for our farmers, all of this is rallied around a single point agenda which is to build and serve India’s largest farmer community.”

Ritu Verma, Co-founder and Managing Partner, Ankur Capital said, “We are excited to kick off our second fund by partnering with Vegrow. We have spent a lot of time in the agtech sector and most solutions do not get to the heart of the challenge – managing demand led production across fragmented farms. The teams’ depth of understanding the market, coupled with their approach to use technology to drive the scale is what we feel sets them apart. We look forward to being part of the next phase of their journey and are excited to be partnering with Matrix and other investors and leveraging their experiences to build the farms of tomorrow.”

Tarun Davda, Managing Director, Matrix India said, “Agriculture is one of India’s largest industries, and the lack of organization in the space clearly outlines the vast opportunity available. Vegrow’s model of aggregating fragmented farms, to help unlock economies of scale with technology-led interventions, significantly increases the earning potential of their partner farmers. We are excited to partner with the founders – Praneeth, Shobhit, Mrudhukar and Kiran, and our co-investors to help build the world’s biggest asset-light farm.”

About Vegrow:

Vegrow is in the business of fresh fruits & vegetables with an addressable market size of $43 billion. Vegrow is a tech platform partnering with farmers, aggregating supply and selling to organized demand through partnership. Vegrow simplifies farming and increases the land utilization for farmers. Vegrow is a VC funded startup and founded by a group of IITians having a passion for agtech and with experience in agri-input & agri-output companies viz. AgroStar & ITC. The team has experience in building products from 0 to 1 and 1 to 100 solving critical problems of market places & B2B business like UrbanCompany & Chronus. For more information visit, https://www.vegrow.in

About Ankur Capital:

Ankur Capital is an early stage fund investing in startups that are building transformative technology led solutions for the next billion Indians. The firm has been funding transformative opportunities across sectors since 2014 and is credited with pioneering agritech investing in India. Ankur backed companies were the first to digitize farming (CropIn), develop patented ML tech for early non-invasive and inexpensive detection of breast cancer (Niramai), build a human centric assistive platform to bring the next billion online (Jiny), and employ biotech to create sustainable multi-purpose alternative proteins (StringBio). 

About Matrix Partners India:

Matrix Partners India is an investment firm with approximately $1 billion under management. Founded in 2006, the firm invests in companies targeting the Indian consumer and enterprise market at the seed, early and early growth stages. Matrix India has invested in several market leading companies such as Ola (mobility), Quikr (online classifieds), Practo (digital health platform), Dailyhunt (mobile local language platform), Treebo (digital hotel chain), Limeroad (social e-commerce platform), Mswipe (mobile POS), Five Star Business Finance (SME lending), OfBusiness (credit led B2B marketplace), Ola Electric (electric vehicles), Razorpay (payments), Country Delight (a direct-to-home, mass premium milk brand), Stanza Living (tech enabled student housing platform), Vogo (scooter sharing), and Cloudnine Hospitals (leading chain of maternity hospitals), among others. Matrix India has advisory offices in Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai. Matrix Partners has a global network of funds investing in the US, China and India, with approximately $5 billion under management. Further information is available at www.matrixpartners.in

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