I-Hub gets 3 startups

Focus on easing farm problems and sustainable returns with use of technology.

By Author  |  Published: 19th Mar 2017  12:25 amUpdated: 18th Mar 2017  9:44 pm
HELPING INNOVATORS: Icrisat Digital Agriculture Head Ram Kiran Dhulipala. Photo: B Krishna Mohan

Hyderabad: Three technology startups have begun their operations at the newly announced I-Hub, the incubator for agri-startups set up at the Icrisat in Hyderabad. They will work to use technology to address farm related issues.

The incubator has 40-seats and about ten seats have been taken by these three companies. Talks are in with more players and one of them has given a commitment to take up the space shortly, said Ram Kiran Dhulipala, head, digital agriculture at Icrisat, and overseeing the I-Hub initiative.

Hyderabad-based Kanesa, a supplychain solutions company, has taken six seats, while Thoughtfolks, a digital marketing firm, has taken three seats. Among others, it will work to popularise use of millets, particularly in Telangana. Peat, Germany-based firm which has an image processing technology that detects pest attacks or nutrient deficiency patterns has also started its technical operations here.

“We are in talks with a few more players which use IT in agriculture,” said Dhulipala. These include a startup that works on farm inputs and already has presence Gujarat, Rajasthan and Maharashtra. One more company is now incorporating itself in India to start operations here soon, he said.

Similar to T-hub in functioning, the newly launched incubator will promote use of technology in agriculture to get better returns for farmers on a sustainable basis. T-Hub is a key collaborator in I-Hub. Icrisat also has partnerships with ICAR, Telangana Agriculture University, Government of Karnataka and others.

“Use of technology is happening in certain pockets only. We want to scale it up. Icrisat has science resources and entrepreneurs will get the required technology,” he said adding that I-Hub will do mentoring apart from providing workspaces, guidance and access to scientific knowledge.

On the revenue model, Dhulipala said it will work to just cover its costs. “The companies coming here can seek to have access to scientists or other members. In this case, costs will be worked out depending on the time that these resources will spend with the companies,” he said.

The official said it will look to create use cases for GIS, weather forecasting, analytics and others in agriculture for sustainable business models. “With use of business intelligence, a super market chain can plan the inventory at the store level. Similarly, that can be used for farmers as well. For instance, prices of tomato crashed last year and peaked later. This can be put in a perspective and help farmers with and advisory including suggestions if a crop change is needed,” said Dhulipala.