Aibono became based in 2014 by way of IIT Madras alumnus Vivek Rajkumar
It is working to enhance farm yield and profits realisation for farmers thru a singular cease-to-stop platform
Having the retail suite of utility, it's also operating to release the purchaser aspect suite
When a six-12 months-vintage agritech startup — which had earned lots of headlines round its plans to change the lives of farmers and one which changed into known through the investor network as properly — puts its internet site on a deep freeze for extra than 5 months, one can't help however wonder what precisely is cooking internal?
That startup is Aibono.
Founded in 2014 through IIT Madras alumnus Vivek Rajkumar, Aibono is so far operating to improve farm yield and profits realisation for farmers via a novel quit-to-give up platform. Operating as an AI-primarily based fresh food farm aggregator, the startup deals in excessive-value, fairly perishable and short-cycle crops together with carrots, broccoli, lettuce etc — a group which represents a $10 Bn section within the $250 Bn clean produce market.
With a developing cycle of 60-ninety days and a shelf existence of three to four days, very few gamers in India were able to determine out the name of the game sauce to cater to this section. But Aibono seems to have accomplished it.
In March this 12 months, the Bengaluru-based totally startup raised $2.Five Mn from Menterra Venture Advisors, Artha Ventures, Rebright Partners among different investors. It is now trying to amplify its carrier to 2K farmers and 2K small shops in more towns through 2020. Currently, it's miles running with about 500 farmers inside the Nilgiris belt in Karnataka and 500 stores, largely based totally in Bengaluru. It is also constructing a community middle for farmers to be able to go stay in the first region of 2020 within the Nilgiris.
“We have already got a store facing suite of programs for retail orders. It’s the client facet suite what we have put under the deep freeze,” Rajkumar chuckled.
While the up to date website can also get stay each time soon, the business enterprise is also operating to deliver a feature that tells clients can tune the source or the farm wherein the purchased veggies or fruits have come from.
“That’s some thing with the intention to be coming out through 2020. So some distance we were operating along farmers at the concept of seed to plate. It is an interesting factor in an effort to provide for the movement of products as well as the movement of cost from seed to plate and plate to seed,” stated Rajkumar.
Seed To Plate Vs Farm To Fork
India ranks 2nd in end result and vegetable manufacturing in the global after China. But there still exists a large gap among in keeping with capita call for and deliver owing to the surprisingly perishable nature of clean produce and the particularly negative shipping infrastructure in certain elements of the us of a.
Indian agritech startups operating inside the farm-to-fork space like WayCool, Fresh2Home, Licious and others are already constructing solutions to enhance supply chain management by means of adopting first-rate global practices in garage, packaging, coping with, transportation at the same time as additionally providing cost-delivered provider. As a end result, many claim to have reduced post-harvest wastage by means of greater than 40%.
Aibono is, however, working inside the seed-to-fork section. Rajkumar explained that normally systems are constructed by organizations to cognizance at the demand aspect. They first talk to clients and then cross closer to the supply to remove the middleman, however they always begin from the call for aspect. He delivered that inside the farm-to-desk space, startups don’t enter the farm or immediately engage with farmers earlier than the harvest. Their engagement with producers begin after the product is prepared.
“Our engagement with farmers begin ninety days earlier than that — proper from the first second when the seeds are sown and going all the manner till the produce is purchased from the retail shelf. We understand that yield without a rate is half of the trouble solved. And doing deliver chain without controlling the product, which perishes every two days, is sort of a gamble you can infrequently win,” he delivered.
We aren't a supply chain business enterprise, however an agriculture employer.
Providing Technology As A Service To The Farmers
Agriculture or supply chain, one thing is obvious — Aibono is a tech corporation on the identical time. Its software-based totally assisted platform for the farmers achieves the dual goals of enhancing farm yield and farmer’s income realisation. For this Aibono’s platform calls for visibility of records from the deliver as well as call for-side to reap the right ratio in actual-time. Here’s the way it goes approximately it:
Predicting The Demand
According to Rajkumar, even a simple have a look at of consumption from a unmarried retail keep shelf on a day-to-day basis allows the observer to collect a deep amount of statistics and apprehend which merchandise are being consumed and at what speed.
“That’s a totally lovely component we have about food due to the fact a weekly household purchase of meals is primarily based on the kind of recipes and styles of consuming we've got at domestic. Likewise, groups inside the motel and eating place industry purchase produce based totally on their menus. So when you begin shooting facts, this all will become quite predictable,” he brought.
Controlling The Supply
Once the call for has been predicted, it's far essential to manipulate the manufacturing and launch it to the cabinets in step with the intake expectation. This is divided into three areas:
By making use of the ideas of precision farming, Aibono captures more than 150 farm variables in about 2K statistics factors for every batch itself. “It includes facts all of the manner from soil assessments to nutrient check, field pics, leaf colouration and many others, all finished at the start of the batch,” stated Rajkumar.
All this records is amassed via the Aibono suite of software program packages for exclusive regions. “The tech guide group bridges farm facts to the app, then there's predictive planting cloth suite of programs that paintings with seedlings producer or nursery, then there's harvest suite of programs, wherein we get to recognize the manufacturing information on daily foundation, and more,” he introduced.
Leveraging The Onground Fleet
Aibono maintains an on-floor fleet of around 30 humans. These are agri-graduates from the close by geographies and are largely younger employees from farming families. They are given a three-month rigorous schooling programme on crop agronomy. Each such agronomer, as Aibono calls them, is answerable for forty-50 farms. They carry the system kits in addition to statistics gathering sensors to farms and acquire the desired facts at the same time as also helping farmers in technology adoption.
“A regular agronomer evaluates 20 batches at a time. On our platform an agronomist manages greater than three hundred batches at a time due to the help of our AI platform. Both crop professionals and the AI platform paintings concurrently to make recommendations,” said Rajkumar.
Sowing The Seeds
Once statistics evaluation is done, Aibono affords seeds intelligently on the premise of intake from the retail shelves. The associate farms are then divided into a couple of quadrants for sowing season. Each quadrant is given a extraordinary crop at a given time. So a farm does 10-15 harvest cycles a year with multi-crop and more than one batches. Seeds are sown inside the right quadrant every week, in keeping with the consumption that Aibono virtually forecast.
“All those are quick-cycle plants. With this approach, on an average, a farmer makes 1.5-2 instances yield than a everyday farmer as he's able to unfold his cash drift across more than one crops accordingly gaining better yield and higher price realisation across each batch,” delivered Rajkumar.
Real World Reviews Are The Best Marketing Tool
With the advent of era in agriculture, a number of players had been tapping extraordinary niches inside the previous few years. Some succeeded at the same time as others failed. But the impact at the cease customer and farmers has been huge each in the superb and terrible way.
“This was a key task we needed to face to begin with. We deal frequently with small farmer atmosphere, who will evaluate you with every different participant who may also have reached out to them in advance with promises of better yields and higher incomes.”
As they are saying, nothing beats a real-international example in creating the right affect, so Rajkumar started via leasing a farm inside the Nilgiris and using it as a model farm.
“In 2014, our first leased farm become of a retired college trainer and incidentally with a temple, which the complete village comes to for the duration of unique activities. Farmers being a closed knit network, what better manner to gain phrase of mouth than display and tell.”
The entry of Jio and the following marketplace penetration blitz via all telcos additionally performed a key position in putting in the preliminary milestones for Aibono way to the raise in adoption for the software suite. “This turned into a real turning point for us. We had been fortunate to be at the proper place on the right time while internet were given commoditised,” he introduced.
Enough Room For Agritech Synergies
Over the years, Aibono has turn out to be regarded amongst farmers as a carrier organization in place of a technology enterprise despite the point of interest on facts collection and programs, with the on-ground ‘agronomers’ in all likelihood being a element in creating that belief.
And Rajkumar has no objection to it. He believes that the splendor of an aggregator platform lies in the truth that it can't simplest enhance the yield or profits however also can provide cost-added services to the farmers at a far decrease cost, hence standardising the product further.
“This is precisely the idea on which a platform like ours is built where all the device and knowledge is aggregated into a novel facts layer and the intel given to the farmers is absolutely centralised,” he added.
Aibono stands for AI and Bono which means that doing excellent for the people the use of new-age generation — it symbolises a balance among technology and human efforts, that is truely the encouraged approach for the sustainable increase of the agriculture environment.
In line with this, collaboration with companions in the ecosystem and other agritech startups also are at the playing cards for Aibono inside the near future. Aibono is poised to stand massive opposition from the players like PEAT, Earth Food, V Drone Agro, CroFarm on this segment.
But Rajkumar believes that to scale, it’s no longer important to tap many geographies. “Nilgiris in itself is a location which produces 500-seven-hundred Mn worth of goods. District by way of district, in itself the clean greens and culmination marketplace is so huge, specially awesome-perishables and excessive-cost products.”