As per reports, the Agritech sector in the country will see significant investment and is projected to grow to a $30 billion-$35 billion market size by 2025. Rising tech awareness among farmers, driven by high internet penetration and mobile connectivity, is expected to drive the sector. The government is also playing an active role by creating incubators, awarding grants, and focusing on public-private partnerships. In this post, we speak with Siddharth Dialani, IIT-Madras alum (Integrated Masters in Biotechnology), co-founder & CEO – BharatAgri, and Forbes-30-under-30 (2020).
This is the 2nd post in the interview series with Siddharth. For those who missed out on the previous article, here is the article on How to Improve Employability after B.Sc/B.Tech Biotechnology in India.
Entrepreneurship as a Career Path with a Degree Biotechnology
Q. How did you get into the Agriculture/AgriTech domain?
Siddharth: At Centre For Innovation (CFI) in IIT Madras, we were involved in many innovative projects like robotics, automation, satellite building, etc. I was the student head of CFI in my final year.
In one of the CFI meetings, one core team member (Sai) mentioned that we should do something in agriculture.
She had a family farm which was never profitable. We thought that by using technology and what we do at CFI, we can actually improve agriculture production.
That core team member and I then started BharatAgri in 2017.
Q. Not many Biotech students take the entrepreneurial route in India. What made you take the leap of faith?
Siddharth: Unfortunately, not many Biotech students used to be involved in co-curricular activities in IITM. Also, their analytical skills were not so great. Things changed a lot in our 2nd – 3rd year when we saw some of our seniors going to non-core companies and some even taking the entrepreneurial route.
I was involved in many co-curricular activities and became co-curricular secretary in my final year (elected by 8000 students).
I belong to a business family and entrepreneurship is in our genes 🙂
About BharatAgri and AgriTech in General
Q. How did you choose your Co-founder (Sai Gole)?
Siddharth: Sai was that core team member of CFI. She suggested us to take up an agriculture project in CFI. She has a family farm in MH which then later became an experimental ground for us.
She’s very creative and analytical. And hence she has been taking care of our growth and marketing functions.
Given my Biotechnology background, I took up some agriculture courses in Israel which then helped me lead the Agronomy team at BharatAgri.
Q. Could you please tell our readers more about BharatAgri? What key problems are you guys solving?
Siddharth: BharatAgri is an app-based platform that provides personalized consultancy services to farmers using data science and satellite-based monitoring.
We have monetized digital advisory at scale and have 50k live paid subscriptions on the platform. We are adding 10k paid subscriptions every month. We are targeting 100mn farmers in India who are spending $14bn on agri-services.
We are solving the key problem of low production and income from Indian farms. Most of it can be attributed to the poor implementation of scientific techniques on the farm.
Q. What kind of technology is BharatAgri implementing?
Siddharth: BharatAgri has developed a unique algorithm that uses 30+ parameters from the farm and provides a season-long consultancy schedule to the farmers –
- This consultancy schedule is personalized. Every farmer gets a unique and different calendar.
- The consultancy schedule is dynamic. It changes based on changing climatic conditions.
- The farm is monitored using satellite based monitoring. We can guide the farmer in case of pest or disease attack using this technology.
Job Opportunities within AgrTech Sector
Q. What kind of job opportunities are there at BharatAgri?
One can always check our website for available job openings.
We are actively hiring in tech, product, operations, and sales roles.
Each role has a different skill set requirement. However, the common attributes that we look at in each candidate are a problem-solving attitude and intense curiosity.
Q. Any career advice for the folks who wish to work in AgriTech? How are the career scopes?
Siddharth: Agri-Tech is a hot market right now. In the coming decade, more than 100 million farmers are going to use the internet for the first time. Where do you want to be when that happens?
Graduates and early-stage professionals can join an agri-tech company and be a part of history in the making. It’s an industry that is going to have maximum impact on the Indian economy.
The new age agri-tech companies can folks you get the best experience in tech, product as well as data analysis roles.
Related Article: Applications of AI and Machine Learning in Agriculture/AgriTech
Q. Post pandemic, work-life balance has gone for a toss. How are you balancing your schedule and what would be your advice for others?
Siddharth: Some tips that have helped –
- Daily reading book for 20+ minutes. Any book is fine as long as it develops a long term reading habit.
- Daily workout
- Give some time everyday to introspection