This Bengaluru Based Startup Aims to Bring Transparency in the Agriculture Sector to Improve the Economic Condition of Farmers

Milan Sharma, Founder and CEO, Intellolabs
Milan Sharma, Founder and CEO, Intellolabs

We are publishing an interview of Mr. Milan Sharma, CEO, Intello Labs.

About the founders
There are 4 founders of Intello Labs:

  • Milan Sharma, CEO: A seasoned e-commerce professional with rich experience in pricing and data science
    9+ years of experience with large corporates such as Snapdeal, Absolute data, dunnhumby. Consulted large organizations in pricing: Wal-Mart, Tesco, TSA BCF Petco home depot Kraft, P&G, etc. An IIT Bombay Alumnus, responsible for managing overall growth of the company,
  • Nishant Mishra, CTO: Extensive expertise in encompassing software design, Project Management and Solution Architecture. Rich experience with technology giants such as Amazon, Yahoo, Canon. An IIT Bombay Computer Science Alumnus, responsible for Aligning Company’s Technology and business strategies and product launch.
  • Devendra Chandani, Business Head: Rich experience in delivering high impact analytics projects for clients
    10+ years of diverse Marketing and Analytics experience working with India’s leading service providers in space of analytics & consulting. MBA degree from Management Development Institute, Gurgaon.
  • Himani Shah, Strategy & Investment: Rich experience in corporate planning, business finance and driving corporate level key initiatives across departments. 7+ years of experience with Duetsche Bank, start ups and PeopleStrong, Awarded most prestigious management award for corporate level impact at PeopleStrong. An IIT Bombay Alumnus, responsible for Marketing and partnership strategy.

What is the problem you are trying to solve? Can you share with us any insights that led you to believe that this is a big enough problem? 
In Indian Agriculture, there are several inefficiencies; first of all, there is a massive issue of transparency; farmers do not have adequate knowledge of how good their product is, and hence how to price it. Similarly, commodity buyers’ face challenges with their current buying practices; they do not have high level of confidence in current assaying processes; they look at quality reports with suspicion.

We use technology to address these issues. Our solutions leverage the most advanced Analytics tools and techniques –Deep Learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Basis the images captured by farmers, we tell then grades of their produce, thus bringing complete transparency in the system. These empower the farmer to demand fair price for their produce.

Difficult to map the potential in a “traditional” way. Some indicators:

  • In H1 2017, Agri & Food Tech start-ups have raised $4.4 bn (As per AgFunder report)
  • Digital Agriculture Services Market estimated to hit $4.55bn by 2020 (Accenture) – https://www.accenture.com/_acnmedia/Accenture/Conversion-Assets/DotCom/Documents/Global/PDF/Digital_3/Accenture-Digital-Agriculture-Point-of-View.pdf
  • The global precision farming/agriculture market was valued at $3.06 billion in
    2016 (Grand View Research) – http://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/precision-farming-market

We believe this to be $1bn+ opportunity.

What is the uniqueness about your Startup? 
Our edge:

  • Focus on overall Agri… Multiple use cases.
  • Track record – ability to train algorithms, develop a working solution and demonstrate success.
  • VERY RAPIDLY.

What is the revenue model? Explain your thought process. 
Our revenue/pricing model follows the B2B SaaS model. We charge a set-up fee for every implementation. Following that, there is a monthly fee depending on usage (i.e. number of images processed). Typically, we work with corporates who implement these solutions; even if the farmer uses the application, the costs are borne by intermediaries.

Who are the consumers that you are targeting? How is this going to affect them? *
We are targeting 2 types of consumers:

  1. Farmers – Intello Labs aims at empowering farmers to participate and work in the digital economy as more and more farmers are moving towards technology to increase their productivity and efficiency for larger returns. Farmers have been previously excluded from the benefits of the digital economy because of lack of awareness and difficulty in technology adoption. They do not understand how to grade their own produce… we help them understand it better
  2. Commodity buyers – Be it grains or fruits & vegetables, the buyer of these items is fraught with fear and uncertainty around how the materials are really graded at the point of procurement. Our solutions will help them manage their quality processes more effectively, and cut down subsequent losses.

What is the big picture of your startup? Will it lead to something bigger? If so, how? 
Our BHAG – bold, hairy, audacious goal… is to achieve transparency – for all stakeholders, especially farmers – across the Agriculture Value Chain

This Bengaluru Based Startup Aims to Bring Transparency in the Agriculture Sector to Improve the Economic Condition of Farmers

What is the success story of your startup in your own words? 

  • We currently have paid project with Government of Rajasthan for implementation of the product in Mandis under Rajasthan APMC to bring in objectivity in grading of grains traded at the mandis while capturing mandi transaction data in digital manner. This could then extend to 250 of 7500 Mandis registered under eNAM.
  • In Private Sector, we are working with 9 clients – this includes a mix of food retailers, agri platforms, foundations, etc.
  • The fundamental challenge is to convince people of the product viability. Since the idea is new and disruptive, people are usually skeptical, to begin with.
  • Our approach has always been to develop a working prototype as fast as possible; once the clients see a working solution, things tend to move fast. Our best marketing tool is our product.

Any other information about your startup that you would like to share with us.
We have recently won a series of accolades:

– We have won the golden ticket to GES (Global Entrepreneurship Summit) – through the run up event in Jaipur.
– We have been slected by Nasscom in emerge50 list as part of Nasscom Product Conclave (we also presented there).
– We have come first runner up as an innovative food startup in the World Food India event organized by MOFPI (our CEO got the award from President of India).

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