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Can agri-based start-ups transform the rural economy?
Deborah Keller, Can agri-based start-ups transform the rural economy? 04 Jul 2017
Deborah Keller, 04 Jul 2017
Agriculture Products

Aspada invests USD $3.3 Million in EM3 AgriServices

by Kartik Srivatsa

Aspada Investment Company, has made a commitment of INR 20 Crores ($3.3 Million) to Delhi-based EM3 AgriServices Pvt Ltd. EM3 provides a full range on-farm services using modern agricultural machines and technologies, delivered by the company’s own trained personnel on a "pay-for-use" basis. Small farmers are universally unable to afford machines and equipment that can increase yields and productivity. EM3’s goal is to eliminate the need for ownership by providing access to technologies that enhance yields per acre and that have heretofore been affordable to only the largest farmers and landowners. 

 

Rohtash Mal, Chairman and Managing Director of EM3 AgriServices said, “It is ironic that the farmer who feeds the nation is unable to feed himself. Most prominent among yield inhibiting factors is the small farmer’s inability to afford modern machines and technology. Pay-for-use service models are, by far, the only solution to the enduring challenge of raising farm productivity without burdening the farmer with significant capital expenditure. So far, only adjacent opportunities in agriculture such as cold chains and warehouses have drawn serious interest from investors. EM3 is one of the few investments in ‘core’ Indian agriculture aimed at positively enhancing a small hold farmer’s P&L account."

"In Aspada, we found the right DNA to work with on this path-breaking opportunity—a bright and energetic team that has an exceptionally mature approach to building sustainable, disruptive businesses that can become large and create real economic and societal value”, continued Mr. Mal.

Adwitiya Mal, Executive Director of EM3 AgriServices, adds; "Services are delivered under our brand “Samadhan” through EM3’s farm service centres (“Samadhan Kendras”). Each centre delivers a complete suite of basic and precision agri operations from soil to the farm gate. We have been operating in Madhya Pradesh for over a year, and with Aspada’s investment will create a pan-India network of Kendras. Over the next 18-24 months, we intend serve tens of thousands of farmers, thereby enhancing yields of numerous crops across multiple geographies. Simultaneously, we will continue investing in team building, bolstering our technology platform, enhancing soil and chemistry research, and augmenting our services and product portfolio—all with the intent of maximizing farm productivity and driving down farm operating costs".

“We are partnering with an exceptional team that brings significant experience in building large businesses and that comes with a deep understanding of Indian agriculture. We believe that EM3 can become India’s first organized small-hold agricultural services platform at scale and will materially improve farm processes and productivity among small farmers in India.” said Kartik Srivatsa, Managing Partner of Aspada Investment Advisors.

About Aspada Investment Company
The Aspada Investment Company is a holding company and venture capital investor with a significant commitment from the Soros Economic Development Fund (SEDF). The firm is an active investor in India, with investments across agricultural supply chains, logistics, financial services, education, and healthcare. Aspada also manages the portfolio of the SONG Fund, an early stage venture capital firm backed by the Soros Economic Development Fund, Omidyar Network, and Google.

About EM3 AgriServices
EM3 Agriservices is corporate India's maiden venture into the field of farm mechanization and technology services, with a goal of enhancing the wealth of small and marginal farmers. With a strong belief in building an ecosystem and a scalable platform, EM3 has long-term agreements with Indian and global leaders of technology and agricultural firms, such as John Deere, ITC Agri Business, Syngenta Foundation, SFAC, Farmer Producer Companies, amongst others.

Rohtash Mal (61), the founder, an IIT ’76, IIM ’79 alum, is an industry veteran with over 36 years of experience across multiple industries including 15 years as CEO for some of India’s largest companies. Co-founder Adwitiya Mal (32), returned to India to start EM3 AgriServices. He is an MBA from the University of Rochester and has held a number of roles at AXA’s Asia Headquarters in Hong Kong, including that of Asia Strategy Manager.

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