Agritech Startup Semaai Receives Initial Investment from Surge and Beenext
Semaai announced an initial round of funding of $1.25 million or approximately 18 billion Rupiah led by Surge, the acceleration program of Sequoia Capital India; and Beenext.
A number of angel investors, such as Nipun Mehra (Ula), Harshet Lunani (Qoala), and Prashant Pawar (Houlihan Lokey), participated in this round.
The funds will be used to expand the delivery network, starting from farmer shops (agricultural retailers) which will eventually reach small farmers in rural areas. Also, increase the team of engineers and products to be deployed in India by three times by the end of this year.
The startup was founded in April 2021 by Muhammad Yoga Anindito, Abhishek Gupta, and Gaurav Batra. Each has a strong background in agriculture and supply chains.
Yoga previously led his own agricultural input distributor company, then Hasana has in-depth knowledge of agricultural supply chains.
Meanwhile, Abhishek has experience working with governments to lead various rural projects in the fields of agribusiness, fintech, and policy.
Providing Complete Agricultural Services
Semaai’s ambition is to provide millions of rural farmers and MSMEs with opportunities to create sustainable livelihoods and access to better financing, services and new markets.
Through a growing network of service delivery centers, Semaai provides a full range of agricultural services, such as specialized consulting, productivity tools as well as agricultural inputs such as seeds and fertilizer products.
Agriculture in Indonesia is a S$100 billion industry comprising 13.5% of the country’s GDP, and is supported by more than 40 million farmers and small businesses in rural areas – nearly a third (29%) of Indonesia’s workforce.
Most of the agricultural workforce consists of small farmers, small scale farmers, and rural MSMEs such as farmer shops, which are small agricultural retailers that supply production facilities (saprodi) and agricultural equipment (alsintan) to small farmers.
Despite their enormous contribution to the Indonesian economy, these rural farmers and MSMEs face major challenges in sustaining their livelihoods. In fact, the middle class’s demand for diverse food products is increasing.
However, they have not been able to take advantage of this moment due to the highly fragmented and complex agricultural supply chain in Indonesia, which ultimately leads to unclear pricing, lack of access to affordable agricultural production and machinery, and large gaps in supply and demand.
Semaai aims to address these systemic problems by offering a comprehensive range of services to rural farming communities.
This startup combines special consultations through a team of agronomists, access to modern technology as well as production inputs and agricultural machinery at affordable prices such as seeds, pesticides and fertilizers.
Semaai Co-founder Muhammad Yoga Anindito said, digitizing MSMEs in the upstream agricultural sector has the potential to be a game-changer for Indonesia’s agro-ecosystem.
We believe in leveraging technology to change the mindset and way farmers and MSMEs conduct their activities, and equip them with the tools and skills needed to maximize their profits.
“We believe that together with our experienced team and unique online to offline approach, we can grow exponentially to make a meaningful impact for more farmers,” he said in an official statement, Tuesday (15/2).
Funds from the fundraising will be used to strengthen the team, deepen the distribution system and expand throughout Indonesia
With this solution, it is claimed that since five months of launch, Semaai has succeeded in increasing the GMV of products sold to farm shops and cooperatives by 10 times.
This number will be increased in line with the company’s ambition to reach and benefit 100,000 small farmers and rural MSMEs next year.
The solutions offered by Semaai are not new, previously many startups have entered offering efficiency solutions in the agricultural supply chain.