Noida-based EM3 Agri Services, an Agri-tech startup which offers farm services and machinery on rent, has raised $10 million in series-B round from London-based non-profit Global Innovation Fund (GIF), a global innovation fund backed by the governments of US, UK, Sweden and Australia.
Founded in 2013 by Rohtash Mal, a former CEO of Bharti Airtel and his US-educated son Adwitiya Mal, EM3 is inspired by ridesharing firms like Uber and aims to “Uberise” farm services in India by bringing relevant global technologies and equipment to India and make them accessible and affordable to Indian farmers with FAAS (farming-as-a-service) where they pay per use.
EM3 Agri operates under the brand name Samadhan in Madhya Pradesh and parts of Gujarat. The company offers farm equipment such as ground-levelling machines, deep-ploughing equipment and power harrows for making seed beds to farmers on rent.
In 2015, the startup had raised its first round of equity funding of Rs 27.5 crore from Soros Economic Development Fund, via Aspada Investments, a fund that focuses on early-stage businesses in India in sectors like healthcare, agriculture and education.
EM3 Agri said that post latest funding it will expand into Rajasthan in phases, beginning with districts in the south. Over the next 12-18 months the company will set up operational outposts called Samadhan Kendras — which maintain the equipment and double up as customer-facing stores—across the state.
“We have impacted nearly 15,000 farmers, our equipment touches 300-plus acres of farm land everyday. Currently we have 160 employees,” says Rohtash Mal, 66, who has over 35 years of experience spanning six industries — agri-machinery, agriculture, telecom, automobiles, paper and chemicals across companies such as Bharti Airtel, Maruti and Escorts.
EM3 has partnerships with John Deere, which is the world’s largest manufacturer of farm equipment with a turnover of $40 billion so that all technologies can be made available to the farmer; a joint venture with Trimble that offers precision farm services; Small Farmers’ Agri-Business Consortium (SFAC), a financial consortium specialising in agriculture financing and with ITC via its e-Choupals.
To recall, last year in October Mahindra & Mahindra group too had launched similar services called Trringo for farmers in India where they can hire/rent tractors, and the company had even invested Rs.10 crore of amount into it.