BharatAgri, an advisory-led e-commerce platform for farmers, has raised Series A funding of ₹35 crore ($4.3 million) led by Arkam Ventures, an early-stage venture fund dedicated to ‘Middle-India’ startups.

A media statement said the funding marks Arkam’s third investment in the agri-tech space, furthering its commitment to support builders of Bharat. The round also saw participation from Capria Ventures, and the existing investors, India Quotient, 021 Capital, and Omnivore.

The funds will be used to scale up BharatAgri’s e-commerce platform to cater to new geographies and strengthen its last-mile delivery. Rahul Chandra, Managing Director of Arkam Ventures, will join the board of BharatAgri.

Founded by IIT-Madras alumni Siddharth Dialani and Sai Gole, BharatAgri uses smart farming advisory to help farmers identify and order the best input specific to their needs. The company has built prediction algorithms that provide advisory customised to crops, region and climatic changes.

The statement said BharatAgri’s e-commerce platform offers 10,000-plus agricultural products such as fertilisers, seeds, pesticides, insecticides, and farming equipment, among others, and is delivered pan-India across 20,000-plus pin codes.

Dialani said: “In the next three years, 50 million-plus farmers will use the internet for the first time, and we want BharatAgri to be their bridge to the digital era of agri that is now dawning. With 10 lakh-plus unique monthly users, 10,000-plus SKUs, 100-plus marketplace partners, and 20,000-plus serviceable pin codes, BharatAgri is making a significant impact on farmers’ lives. With this investment, BharatAgri aims to further strengthen its rural supply chain, expand the user base and become the largest and the de facto e-commerce platform for farmers.”

The company statement said that BharatAgri has conducted extensive weather experiments for four years at ICAR, Hyderabad, and collected parameters to build the prediction algorithm to offer personalised and dynamic crop calendars for farmers, satellite-based monitoring, and soil and water testing services.

It added that the integration of advisory and e-commerce has enabled BharatAgri to increase farmers’ production by 30 per cent, reduce cost by 10 per cent, and improve their earning by 100 per cent. It is looking to open multiple warehouses across different regions.

Rahul Chandra, MD of Arkam Ventures, said agri inputs is a $44-billion market in India and suffers from stockouts, misinformation and non-scientific usage. The Indian farmer is now seeking digital information and concerned with farm yields, crop as well as personal safety and household wealth, he said.

He said BharatAgri is a fantastic combination of custom advice and ready assortment of products — reducing confusion around the usage of chemical products and giving fastest access to the best quality agri brands.

“The rural infrastructure in India is rapidly modernising with the last mile touching more and more villages, and farmers are increasingly trusting digital knowledge sources. The credible advice from BharatAgri helps bridge the trust deficit that accompanies input purchasing, and promises to open a digital channel for thousands of new products and brands that farmers seek to buy,” Chandra said.

The statement said digitisation of the fragmented Indian agri industry is one of the key themes under Arkam’s ‘Middle-India’ thesis. The fund has been backing early-movers and market winners that are empowering farmers and strengthening the agri valuechain with technology, it said.