This agri-tech startup recently launched its B2B2C platform Otipy to strengthen the supply chain of fresh products in the country.
Varun Khurana, CEO & co-founder, Crofarm
In a land where roughly 70% of the population resides in rural areas and more than half of the nation’s population farms for a living, the importance of India’s agricultural sector cannot be overstated. However, there are glaring inefficiencies in the country’s agricultural supply chains. Agricultural commodities produced have to undergo a series of operations such as harvesting, threshing, winnowing, bagging, transportation, storage, processing and exchange before they reach the market, and as evident from several studies across the country, there are considerable losses in crop output at all these stages.
“As a result, farmers (for decades) have faced several challenges in the form of post-harvest losses and exploitation from intermediaries who deny them a fair price for their produce,” says Varun Khurana, CEO & co-founder, Crofarm, a Gurugram-based B2B tech-oriented farm-to-fork startup that is doing its bit by connecting farmers to retailers. Prior to this, he was chief technology officer at Grofers.
Khurana says that amid this process, the end-user also struggles to secure fresh produce from the farm and eventually settles with poor quality products.
“Against this backdrop, we started Crofram in 2016. Recently, we launched our social commerce venture Otipy to revolutionise the supply chain of fresh produce in India after taking inspiration from companies such as Xingsheng and Chilibeli who follow the same approach and are efficiently scaling results,” says Khurana.
Otipy works closely with reseller partners (mainly women) to fulfill the demand of end-consumers and facilitates contactless doorstep delivery of fresh produce in less than 12 hours. With the help of demand-led and transparent supply chain, it is able to reduce 30%-40% wastage, he says. “Using this method, today we are able to procure fresh produce from farmers and deliver it to over 50,000 consumers – via a chain of resellers powered by social commerce,” adds Khurana. This process is benefitting all the three parties—consumers with fresh produce at lesser price points, resellers with an opportunity to earn healthy commissions and farmers with timely payment.
With a team of 500+ active women resellers, Crofarm was able to serve 20,000 households in Gurgaon and Delhi within three months of its launch. “Since then, we have been recording double-digit month-on-month growth with positive contribution margins. Today, we are serving over 50,000 consumers by sourcing fresh produce from farmers across Haryana, UP, Delhi, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Rajasthan, and Maharashtra,” says Khurana.
Recently, Crofarm secured $1 million funding from Smile Group and forayed into the B2B2C space with the launch of its Otipy platform. “We had also raised $5,00,000 last year from Vinay Mittal, chief strategy officer at HT Media; Ramit Sethi from Strongbox Ventures and other HNIs. We are also backed by investors such as Pravega Ventures, FactorE Ventures and Ashish Chand of Yukti Securities, among others,” he adds.
Starting with Delhi NCR, Crofarm is currently targeting tier 1 cities. It has plans to expand to tier 2 and tier 3 cities. The company has an extensive product catalogue of hygienic and chemical-free fruits and vegetables at farm prices and aims to establish itself as a leading brand in fresh produce in the country.