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Backing from Japanese & Swiss Investors to accelerate Kisan-to-Kitchen connect

in the $10 bn Perishables Crop Category within the $250 bn F&V Market.

Bengaluru, NFAPost: Aibono, India’s first End-to-end (E2E) Aggregator Platform connecting premium and perishable vegetables from Kisan-to-Kitchen, has raised a further round of $2Million from Japanese & Swiss investors in the midst of Covid-19 economic crisis. 

With the help of its AI-powered full-stack farm services and demand-supply syncing technology, Aibono has helped farmers from the Nilgiris and surrounding villages earn better; and retailers to source better despite disruptions to food supply chain in the pandemic.

Intelligent use of Aibono’s unique end-to-end(E2E) agri-domain and Just-in-time engines have enabled the platform to show a healthy growth rate of 160% post covid19. 

The current capital raise is led by Japanese venture capital firms Rebright Partners and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Venture Capital based out of Tokyo and Singapore respectively; and Swiss Impact Investor Lesing Artha, a subsidiary of Rianta Capital (UK).

With this post-Covid round in addition to the $2.5 Million in pre-series A capital raised by the platform in 2019. Aibono validates its farmer-centric business and grow-local model that stands testimony to international investor attention in disruptive startups in essential goods & services in India.

Onboard farmers

f onboards farmers in the Nilgiris belt and supplies hill vegetables, herbs, leafy greens and organics all year round to retailers and consumers. It’s robust integration of both farm-production and first, middle and last-mile operations into a full-stack platform have enabled its services to scale without disruptions despite lock-down and supply chain breakage in India.

Aibono leverages data science-driven demand-supply synchronisation, farm analytics and “just in time” engines to prevent food wastage, improve agricultural efficiency as well as stabilise livelihoods of farmers specialising in perishable vegetables.

The Aibono platform has built deep lasting relationships with 1000+ farmers from the belt whose fresh produce is currently supplied to 110 postal codes across Bangalore and neighbouring towns, catering to 800+ exclusive retailers. 

The platform has received particularly important support from the Collector of Nilgiris and the Director of Horticulture for the service to vegetable farmers during the lockdown and its associated barricades to the movement of farm produce. 

Value to farmer

In a comment about the current round, Aibono Founder and CEO Vivek Rajkumar said the organisation is happy to be adding meaningful value to farmer livelihoods with assured return on their efforts while servicing millions of consumers during this pandemic with a steady supply of high-quality fresh farm produce.

“We bridge the gap from Kisan-to-Kitchen. With this round of funding, we will now invest to scale capacity and increase supply to our existing Kirana businesses, expanding to Institutional Retail as well as making possible direct-to-home supply of super perishables via modern delivery platforms like Swiggy, Dunzo and Amazon in the next phase of our growth. We are encouraged and excited that Investor attention is on full-stack solutions starting from seed up to the point of consumption of fresh perishables as high potential businesses,” said Aibono Founder and CEO Vivek Rajkumar.

Rebright Partners Founding General Partner Takeshi Ebihara said With India’s retail demand for fresh farm produce going through the roof, very few players are concentrating on solving pain-points at the ground level, for seamless movement of perishables across the value chain.

Farm infrastructure

“With the Government’s focus on opening up farm-gate infrastructure in recent times, we are seeing start-ups such as Aibono who make full-stack agri-businesses lucrative to invest in. It’s inspiring to see their sustained first, middle and last-mile E2E operations during the pandemic delivering essential premium and perishables while demonstrating the best financials among F&V platforms, said Rebright Partners Founding General Partner Takeshi Ebihara

Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Venture Capital Partner Masataka Nakamura said Covid-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges to business continuity that has made the Investor community seek caution and be conservative in approach to funding.

“In Aibono, we see a balance of scale and profitability, with equal emphasis on farmer & retailer growth alongside a sustainable business model. We see them as two sides of the same coin, both of which cannot succeed in isolation. This has become an essential criterion for us as we navigate funding decisions in the new normal,” said Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Venture Capital Partner Masataka Nakamura.

Food production

Artha Director of Leasing who is associated with Rianta Capital Audrey Selian said the prevailing pandemic and its adverse impact on food production, consumption and wastage validates the urgent need for data science and advanced technology intervention to course-correct.

“With many businesses reeling under the impact of losses compounded during the pandemic, Aibono has demonstrated its core value in protecting the small farmer against losses, adding meaningful value to farmer livelihoods via farm services and the assured sale of super perishables during this economic downturn.  Increasing farmer income and stability during such difficult times is a tremendous challenge for a young business to surmount. With this infusion of funds, agri-tech enablers like Aibono with experience in JIT harvest and demand-supply synchronization will make significant social impact for farmers possible,” said Artha Director of Leasing who is associated with Rianta Capital Audrey Selian.

Aibono is on a quick expansion mode and is now in the market to raise the next round of $5million. Aibono will be utilizing the current $2million to power the next phase of growth across Bangalore and markets around the Nilgiris belt. This involves onboarding 2000+ small farmers, 2000+ standalone retailers; entry into Modern Retail and direct-to-consumer via Internet-based food delivery platforms by end of 2020.

India is a nation of small farms, faces the twin challenge of low farm yields and choked supply for retailers & consumers. The Indian fruits & vegetable farmer operates at 60-70% lower productivity than the West and faces low-price realisation due to his supply’s mismatch with demand, inability to store perishables and exploitation by arbitrage.

Aibono started operations in 2015 as an Agri 4.0 company, driven by strong precision farming and productivity enhancement know-how for farm aggregation. With the firm belief that the future of food is Smart Farming & End to End (E2E) supply chain, Aibono Founder and CEO Vivek Rajkumar takes forward his grandfather’s single-minded passion of making available fresh farm produce direct from Kisan-to-Kitchen.

Productivity enhancement

The company today has evolved into a full-stack E2E platform aggregating small farmers with services, synchronizing Demand with Supply and serving “just in time” harvests to retailers and consumers to create Food Chain 4.0. Aibono sees this as the fourth industrial revolution applied to agri-produce.

Aibono pioneers the use of Agri 4.0 – a full-stack Farm Analytics and Just-in-time Supply Chain Platform to solve India’s intractable agri-Demand-Supply mismatch with application of next-gen Farm Data Science and Artificial Intelligence. 

Aibono’s Precision Agriculture Services stabilises and increases yields monitoring over 50 farm variables, and the “just in time” engine controls the sowing and harvesting to precisely match supply and demand, thus minimizing wastage, solving a food shortage problem and increasing income realization for farmers.  The platform has on boarded 1000+ farmers from the Nilgiris belt whose produce is currently supplied to 800+ exclusive retailers in 110 postal codes across Bangalore and neighbouring towns.

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