EM3 AgriServices, India's leading private sector farm mechanisation services company, has raised US$10m from London-based Global Innovation Fund (GIF) and existing Indian investor Aspada. The company had earlier raised US$3.3m from Aspada in June 2015.
Funds from this latest investment round will be used to scale EM3's pioneering Farming-as-a-Service (FaaS) model and bring cutting edge innovation in farm services to boost the rural economy and usher in the ag-tech revolution, Aspada said in a press release.
Most of India's small-hold farmers rely on manual labour as they cannot afford capital equipment such as advanced farm implements, tractors and harvesters. EM3 solves this problem by offering an entire range of interventions from soil preparation to harvesting, where farmers pay a service fee calculated on a per hour or per acre basis. These services often are cheaper than hiring manual labour, with service levels guaranteed by the company, Aspada said.
With the US$10m investment, EM3 will expand geographically across the country, boost ecosystem capacity and invest in building technology, Aspada said.
Commenting on the US10m investment, Adwitiya Mal, CEO of EM3, said: "The next farm revolution is taking place through access to mechanisation. However, with a disorganised mechanisation ecosystem today, the rural economy is not able to fully realise its potential. We are pleased that GIF and Aspada are investing in building tomorrow's farm economy."
Kartik Srivatsa, co-founder and managing partner of Aspada, added: "Over the last two years, EM3 has been able prove out its pioneering model of Farming-as-a-Service (FaaS) to emerge as the leading independent farm services player in India. We now embark on the next phase to rapidly scale the FaaS model as well as our mobile platform for small-hold farmers to access services across the agriculture value chain. The company's proprietary access to farm level data through its operations places it in a unique position to become a canonical leader in the sector."
Alix Peterson Zwane, chief executive officer, Global Innovation Fund, said: "We were impressed by the potential of EM3's pioneering approach towards solving one of Indian agriculture's most fundamental challenges. As they embark on their next phase of growth, we look forward to EM3 continuing to be a market leader in a rapidly growing market in a sector critical to India and its millions of small-hold farmers."
Founded in 2014, EM3 AgriServices is India's first provider of farm services on pay-per-use basis. Services are provided for the entire cultivation cycle including land development, land preparation, seeding, sowing, planting, crop care, harvesting and post-harvest field management.
Farmers are able to access EM3's services digitally through a mobile app or physically by contacting a "Samadhan Kendra", the company's local fulfillment centre. Having serviced over 8,000 farms through 10 farm service centres since inception, EM3 says it has validated the feasibility of a model that brings affordable and reliable mechanisation as a pay-per-use service to small-hold farmers.