In India, some corporate giants have joined the tech revolution in the 21st century. And it’s not always as competition to start-ups but also as partners and backers.
That was the idea behind the Mahindra Group investing in Pune-based agritech start-up MeraKisan in September 2016. Mahindra Agri Solutions Ltd, a subsidiary of the group, invested in the start-up along with Belgian company Univeg (Greenyard Foods) through a 60:40 joint venture called Mahindra Univeg.
Mahindra Agri Solutions was said to be on the lookout for start-ups that were addressing the market linkage problems in the country — at a time when agritech was just starting to get a foothold in the tech sector. This meant making the supply chain efficient so that Mahindra’s customers and farmers could earn a bigger share of the agricultural income.
The backing from Mahindra, in fact, helped MeraKisan branch out from supplying produce from farmers to consumers to developing organic farming solutions and products.
“Mahindra has not only helped us in scaling the business, but also provided the right access to the marketplace, knowledge and talent. We were one of the initial players in the industry to be supplying fresh fruits and vegetables. And then we moved to organic produce for online grocery delivery companies and consumers,” founder Prashanth Patil told Inc42.