Invested Development’s BSP Fund has invested an undisclosed amount in CropIn Technology Solutions, an Indian agtech company.
The early stage impact fund’s investment follows that of Ankur Capital, a social venture fund, that invested $81,000 during the company’s first institutional round of fundraising.
Invested Development signed an addendum on the back of Ankur’s deal and has invested more than Ankur, but the exact amount could not be disclosed, according to Christina Tamer, investment analyst at Invested Development.
CropIn first raised capital through friends and family and seed investors including Seeders Venture Capital and has already produced technology to cover 25,000 acres of farmland belonging to 15,000 farmers.
CropIn technology aims to help farmers and their food processing customers communicate over the status of their crops in real time, avoiding the lengthy processes currently in place to resolve problems or provide support. It uses web and mobile information technology and data analytics.
“Previously farmers were relying on their supervisors to physically go out and see them to resolve any issues which meant there was a huge lag in information but also in action,” said Tamer. “With CropIn, farmers can address problems quickly. The food processors can also make more informed and accurate predictions of what to expect in terms of both quantity and quality of supply.”
This relationship between large food corporations such as PepsiCo and Mahindra & Mahindra is relatively new after the government changed the law restricting small farmers to selling their produce at local farmers markets, or mandi, in 2003. The resulting difficulties in corporate farming communication between seller and buyer soon became apparent and encouraged CropIn.
“In venture capital we are always looking for a regulation like this to change and expose the next big opportunity,” said Tamer. “In a market like India where so many small farmers are unlikely to have these types of resources, this technology really opens up opportunities for them to become engaged.”
On top of having an impact, the company is also taking advantage of a shift in consumer demands, said Tamer.
“This technology is a huge enabler for traceability as consumers and distributors increasingly want to know where their food is coming from and that it is of good, safe quality.”
The BSP Fund has invested in three agtech companies previously. It closed on $20 million in September 2013 after about three years of fundraising.