Bijak: agriculture made easy
Agriculture is one prominent sector in the country that suffers the after-effects of the pandemic and lockdown. The logistics and transportation administrations slowed down, thus multiplying the farmer’s difficulty. This situation also affected the complete product chain of agriculture. Notwithstanding, the government of India backed out the limitation on unified agribusiness administrations during 2.0 lockdown. During this phase, many Agritech new businesses ventured out to help the farmers. Even during an emergency time frame, many startups enabled them to sell their produce. Bijak is one such agritech platform that made tremendous assistance during the lockdown period.
The founders of Bijak (1) are Nukul Upadhye, Mahesh Jakhotia, Jitender Bedwal, Daya Rai, and Nikhil Tripathi. The team established the startup in May 2019, and it has the head office in Gurugram. Bijak intends to solve the gaps in data transmission and the absence of responsibility across agricultural and farming practices. It empowers brokers, wholesalers, and food processors to keep a record of their financial exchanges. They have access to accurate pricing, streamlined transportation facilities, which in turn improves their profits from the produce.
Bijak has a proprietary application which is accessible in many regional languages of the country. The online portal presents a rating framework that permits food processing businesses, product traders, transportation suppliers, and wholesalers to find new collaborators. They can give the rating and thus recommend those they consider to be credible. Within a year, Bijak has extended its administrations to cover 500 areas across 22 states. It helps with the exchanging of more than 80 items over its foundation, with $150 million in annualised development stock volume. They primarily serve states that are more dependent on agriculture such as Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Bihar, and Uttarakhand.
The birth of Bijak
Agriculture is an inevitable part of the country that is also closely linked to our culture. In developing economies like India, the agricultural business sectors often suffer from deceitful sales and practices. For years, many mediators have regularly engaged in the supply chain among producers and end purchasers. Not only does this decrease the efficiency and pace of the logistics but also cause financial loss for the farmer. The founders of Bijak, Nukul Upadhye, Mahesh Jakhotia, Jitender Bedwal, Daya Rai, and Nikhil Tripathi hoped to find a solution for this problem.
Therefore they formulated a platform that could give better costs, expanded working capital, and advanced transportation facilities for the buyers as well as sellers. By attempting to fix the issues in the agriculture supply chain, Bijak simultaneously secured better costs for farmers, purchasers and dealers. Bijak also brought responsibility and straightforwardness into the farming supply chain through a purchaser/vendor rating framework. Consequently, it empowered the farmers, wholesalers, and food-producing companies to find new and dependable exchange accomplices.
In addition, Bijak also helped the wholesale traders who had restricted access to innovation, data, and it’s benefits. These traders control more than 80 per cent of India’s USD 300 billion agribusiness chain. Bijak enables these organisations to find each other with a counterparty rating. This, in turn, allows the clients to execute the procedures efficiently through a layer of trust and unwavering quality. Since the takeoff in April 2019, Bijak has extended across 22 states, 400 areas, and 80+ products.
Through the years
Within around a year of initiating the platform, Bijak was able to raise two rounds of seed fundings which raised 2.5 million dollars and 12 million dollars respectively. Bijak was among the 20 startups that made it into the program Surge 2.0 by Sequoia Capital. As of late, the company had collaborated with Rahuri Krushi Farmers Producers Company, a FPO from Rahuri in Maharashtra. Together, they were able to provide more than 200 tons of new produce to a NGO in Mumbai for circulation to around 70,000 families in the slums in Mumbai. Through this endeavor, Bijak had figured out how to make a double effect of guaranteeing food accessibility to the underprivileged while creating salary to the penniless ranchers.
To help more people during the pandemic and lockdown, Bijak dispatched a cross country crusade to donate fundamental items to NGOs. Bijak conveys mass amounts of essential products in a short amount of time to any metropolitan city in India. Their logistics chain is firmly connected with farming brokers and carriers and is not affected because of the lockdown guidelines. Bijak has dispatched a web portal known as together.bijak.in. Charity associations can use this platform to raise requests, and providers like farmers, companies etc can post the accessibility of stocks. By easily connecting the and to the supply, Bijak will be able to effectively bridge the gap.
Partnerships and funding
Bijak has started partnerships with some of the biggest organisations in the agrifood business of the country. It works together with agricultural produce market committees (APMCs) to help keep government wholesale to retail costs at reasonable levels. APMCs are government councils that operate with the goal of shielding farmers from deceits from fraudulent mediators. Bijak additionally works with institutional retailers and many other agritech startups. Bijak brought up 2.5 million dollars as seed capital in December 2019. Some of the participants in this round were Omnivore, Omidyar Network, Better Capital, and Surge.
RTP Global, a firm by Russian web pioneer Leonid Boguslavsky is one of the major investors in Bijak. RTP Global was an early financial assistant in Delivery Hero and Yandex. What attracted them the most was the Bijak group’s extraordinary blend of industry mastery and innovative vision. The recent investment is one of the biggest that RTP Global has made from their new fund, and they hope it sets a high bar for future investee organisations.
According to the experts at Omnivore, Bijak has overwhelmed everybody’s assumptions regarding how quick an agritech startup can develop in India.
Madhav Tandan, chief of investments at Omidyar Network India said the startup is building a first-of-its-sort private online commercial centre. They believe that Bijak can help the farmers to discover good demands, gain a reasonable cost, build responsibility and trust. It can offer various types of assistance, like credit and logistics to a market that often faces abandonment. This will inevitably prompt more substantial advantages for the rancher. The investors are exceptionally dazzled with the company’s profound comprehension and experience of utilising innovation to engage first-mile agri-environment members.