India’s fast-growing full-stack agri-tech firm Leads Connect announced that it has raised INR 500 crores ($62.5 Million) from BL Agro Industries, a leading FMCG company, with an aim to enhance its agro-tech stack that would provide more value to farmers.
The funding from BL Agro in Leads Connect would be spread over a period of three years, leading to a controlling stake by India’s leading FMCG firm. Leads Connect specializes in farm analytics and advisory through agri-tech driven data analytics and modelling, crop-cutting experiments, risk management, financial services (farmer loans), and procurement from farmers. The funding will be utilized by Leads Connect towards technology advancement, increasing reach among farmers, FPO, co-operatives, and expanding the beneficiary farmer base through establishment of AGRANI Centres in various cities, running awareness generation campaigns, mergers & acquisitions, contract farming, and investment in Research for Deep-tech and AI/ML in agriculture as well as to improve quality procurement and supply chain cycle for BL Agro.
Through further development of its AGRANI (Agriculture & Disaster Risk Analytics using Next Intelligence) platform, Leads Connect aims to enhance its Khet Se Kitchen Tak initiative. The Agrani platform is a Space Tech-AI based Multi-Event Real Time Analytics Omni-Channel Platform for Delivering end-to-end Precise, Hyperlocal, Context, & User Driven Agri-FinTech Services. There are three apps of the Agrani platform - Agrani Kisan app for farmers, Agrani Saathi for agents, VLE (Village Level Entrepreneurs) and employees and Agrani PRO for FPO, Agri Businesses, exporters and trading houses.
The investment comes at a time when Leads Connect has been on an aggressive drive with its full stack agri value chain solution aimed at increasing productivity and sustainability for Indian farmers. Started in 2009 by Navneet Ravikar, Leads Connect has been on an overdrive to improve market linkages and would provide more value to BL Agro by offering superior supply chain management as a part of the new initiative.
BL Agro aims to leverage Leads Connect seamless farm value chain solution transcending farm advisory, fintech intervention and market linkage creating deep connect with the farmers. The coming together of BL Agro and Leads Connect will help farmers get closer to the buyers thereby
getting them better price and market for their quality produce with a control over good quality and right price.
Commenting on the investment, Navneet Ravikar, chairman and managing director, Leads Connect Services, said, “With agri-tech at the forefront, Indian agriculture is at an inflection point. Agriculture contributes to almost 20% of India’s GDP and changing weather patterns and challenges around sustainability has been challenging the industry. It is time for agri-tech to play a larger role in increasing productivity and mitigating the crisis for farmers. Our partnership with BL Agro will help us to expand agri-tech and agri-fintech in the country and bring in more value to Indian farmers.”
Welcoming the association, Ashish Khandelwal, managing director, BL Agro said, “We are delighted to announce our strategic investment in Leads Connect aimed at creating a new chapter in the Indian agri-tech industry. Over the next three years, we would be investing Rs.500 crore leading to a controlling stake in Leads Connect. The synergies of BL Agro and Leads Connect will help Indian farmers get more value by improving market linkages. We hope this association will help farmers get closer to the consumers with better supply chain management.”
Overwhelmed with the response it has received for its Agrani platform, Leads Connect now plans to set up Brick and Mortar Agrani Kendra throughout India, bringing the farm advisory, financial services and market linkage to the doorstep of farmers/Agri-businesses. Apart from increasing yield efficiency, Leads Connect offers digitalization and end-to-end analytics, including Geospatial Intelligence, SpaceTech and Drone as a Service (DrAAS) for precision farming. Leads Connect also plans to introduce the Agrani platform into the dairy value chain soon.
The Khet Se Kitchen Tak is a farm-to-fork solution that is designed to help improve the productivity and sustainability in the agriculture sector. The initiative will see more than 100 FPO enrolling for the project and will benefit around 50000 farmers initially in UP, Haryana, Telangana and Rajasthan, for the crop value chain in the next six months and then roll out pan India.
Recently, Leads Connect entered into a strategic partnership with the State Bank of India as their Corporate Business Associate with an aim to empower farmers, doubling their incomes, and supporting a climate resilient agro-ecosystem with vital financial services. As a part of this collaboration, Leads Connect will play a pivotal role in supporting SBI Bank in sourcing Agri, AIF, PMFME, Kisan Samridhdhi loans. The partnership will also help solve cash-flow constraints during key cycles in farming by providing quick and easy loans at very competitive rates.