Even as the start-up ecosystem in general faces a funding winter, triggered by weak global economic conditions, the early-stage funding in the emerging Indian agri-tech ecosystem is largely unaffected.

“The early stage momentum has not been affected. The later stage is where more and more scrutiny is happening and more and more first principle questions are being asked,” said Shashvat Rai, Director, Aavishkaar Capital.

Speaking at the Bengaluru Agtech Ecosystem Connect, Rai said if there is increased scrutiny , the tenacious guys actually flourish, which is good for any sector. He advised entrepreneurs that chasing scale alone will not help. “If you are building agritech solutions to the market, it is better to keep asking whether you are bringing any differentiated thing to the market. Now, the vanity metrics of just scale at all cost is not necessarily driving the attention of the market,” Rai said.

$3 billion inflow in 3 years

The Bengaluru Agtech Ecosystem Connect was organised by ThinkAg, a not-for-profit AgFoodFintech collaboratory platform and Ankur Capital on Thursday. Indian agriculture, which withered the Covid challenge, has seen fund inflow of about $3 billion over the past three years. Of the $3 billion investments, around $2.5 billion came in during the Covid time, said Hemendra Mathur, co-founder, Think Ag.

Burjis Godrej, Executive Director, Godrej Agrovet Ltd, said there was a tremendous need for agritech in India. Corporates in general and Godrej in particular can bring more farmer reach and more expertise to the start-ups and help them implement their solutions.

“Ultimately, it will be the starts-ups that will do most of the innovations because corporates have a more traditional outlook as they are more focussed on what’s proven already. So this is a winning combination if we both come together,” Godrej said. He further said that start-ups have to implement localised custom-made solutions and not just copy paste from other countries as Indian agriculture is different from other countries.

Ranjit Mukundan, CEO, Stellapps Technologies, Prateep Basu, CEO and Chief Product Officer, SatSure, Shashidhar Subramanya, National Manager Corporate Technology, Buhler, and Srinivas Ramanujam, CEO, Villgro shared their views at the event, which was attended by over 200 agri entrepreneurs.