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Agritech startups struggle with capital

Agri-business marketplaces and agri-fintech were the most popular upstream categories among investors; farmtech investments were also strong, according to the report by VC firms Agfunder and Omnivore.

Agritech startups struggle with capital

Wednesday May 24, 2023 , 5 min Read


At this point, it’s AI’s world and we are just living in it.

Now, even Indian IT majors are racing to adopt the emerging technology in their products and services.

On Tuesday, Infosys launched a new generative AI platform Topaz while Wipro announced that it is going to leverage Google Cloud’s suite of generative AI tools for its own IP and pre-built industry solutions. This comes just a day after TCS revealed a similar deal with Google Cloud, as well as the launch of its new offering, TCS Generative AI.

Another AI-powered announcement comes from Google itself as the tech giant launched a slew of tools for its ad platform—a critical move as its ad revenue dropped for a second consecutive time in the quarter ended March 31. 

Even Adobe is adding its generative AI tool to Photoshop, which will allow users to extend images and add or remove elements using text prompts. Oh, and Microsoft is adding a Copilot AI assistant to Windows 11. 

What’s next, AI-cooked food? 

Reassuringly, this chef went up against recipes suggested by ChatGPT, and won…but it’s too soon to relax with AI-powered robots rapidly entering kitchens.

In today’s newsletter, we will talk about 

  • Agritech startups struggle with capital
  • Helping companies hire better
  • Preserving centuries-old brand’s legacy

Here’s your trivia for today: What was the first toy to be advertised on television?


Agritech startups struggle with capital

Like other sectors, investments declined in the agriculture and foodtech sector as well, with startups raising $2.4 billion in 2022, down 33% from the $3.6 billion secured in 2021, according to a report by Agfunder and Omnivore. The total number of deals declined to 133 last year from 230 in 2021.

Money talks:

  • Startups innovating upstream, closer to farmers and across the supply chain, bucked the trend, with the capital inflow up 50% to $620 million.
  • Downstream startups offering products and services across the value chain saw a 37% plunge in funding in 2022 compared to 2021.
  • Food delivery startups waned mainly due to consolidation and the lack of innovation. "A highly saturated home delivery market has further reduced investor interest," the report said.

Image Source: Shutterstock

Funding Alert


Amount: $250M

Round: Series D


Amount: $5.25M

Round: Seed

Startup: EMO Energy

Amount: $1.2M

Round: Seed


Helping companies hire better

Addressing the personal pain point of employee fraud, Sudhakar Raja founded TRST Score to calculate employee trustworthiness to enable companies to hire better. Its SaaS platform promises to bring down costs for its customers, besides making it difficult for unethical employees to find jobs.

Perfect score:

  • TRST Score helps companies perform 15 different background verifications, including Aadhar, PAN, employment history, and salary levels.
  • The startup has onboarded over 30 companies. It is in talks with insurance companies to include their agents in the network.
  • It is also working on providing predictive analytics and actionable insights based on the collected data, including the probability of an employee leaving an organisation.
TRST Score


Preserving centuries-old brand’s legacy

Bengaluru-based optical company SR Gopal Rao's legacy can be traced back to the 1800s, even serving the Maharaja of Mysore. Meghna Manay, the COO and fifth-generation entrepreneur, is carrying forward the legacy while preserving its rich history.

Building legacy:

  • After joining the family business in 2011, Meghna initially had to familiarise herself with the competitive landscape and adapt to the evolving industry. 
  • Her mission is to ensure SR Gopal Rao becomes synonymous with quality eyewear across the world.
  • She emphasises SR Gopal Rao's growth lies in personalised attention and maintaining the unique charm of a family-run establishment. 
SR Gopal Rao Opticians

News & updates

  • Going green: JPMorgan Chase is investing over $200 million to purchase carbon credits from several companies to neutralise the bank’s environmental footprint as a way to fight climate change. This will be a big boost to businesses that have removed only small amounts of carbon so far.
  • Restructuring: Alibaba Group’s cloud division has begun a round of job cuts that could reduce its staff by about 7%, part of an overhaul aimed at preparing for a spinoff and eventual IPO. It’s offering severance to employees or transfers to other parts of the Alibaba empire, though those aren’t guaranteed.
  • Changing hands: Shutterstock is buying Giphy from Meta Platforms for $53 million in cash after Britain's competition regulator last year ordered the Facebook owner to sell it over competition concerns. Meta reportedly paid $400 million for New York-based Giphy in 2020.

What you should watch out for

  • Nykaa parent FSN E-commerce and LIC to announce fourth-quarter results.
  • President Draupadi Murmu to inaugurate the country's 'largest' high court in Ranchi, Jharkhand.

What was the first toy to be advertised on television?

Answer: Mr Potato Head, in 1952. It was also the first ad campaign aimed at children.

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