Farmer friendly Swasti agro wins Startup India Rocks Pune

swasti agro

The Swasti Agro produces preventive vaccines for farmers

Healthcare system ensures proper penetration of technology up to last mile. Irrespective of using available technology and curative products, globally, farmers loose up to 90% of the produce because of diseases. As the solution lies in prevention, Swasti Agro has developed preventive vaccines for plants with ecofriendly sustainable technology. Also a healthcare system, an IOT based analysis-advice system. Around 3000 farmers have used this product till date.

Swasti Agro birth story and childhood

After completing Ph.D. in 1995, Dr. Abhay straight away initiated his first StartUp AgroBioTech – a proprietary company for commercial research. I already had some equipment – a basic microbiology lab. The venture was practically without any capital for about 15 years due to lack of support for the start-ups in those days.  In order to be cash plus and trying to figure out the best fit that could meet the passionate goals, they shifted to and fro from commercial research to consultation, organic farming, contract manufacturing, and manufacturing. During this process, they understood that farmers are interested in products for disease control rather than plant growth.

Swasti Agro Products

Yippee !! It worked Out

One of Agro’s growth promoters for sugarcane was sprayed by a farmer on cucumber in 2002, and he observed an astonishing protection from bacterial disease and this became the Eureka moment. It took 9 years to decode this Eureka moment into a MVP.

The Team, Mates and Their Designations

  • Dr Abhay Shendye (50), a Ph.D. in Microbiology (Molecular Biology) has 20 years Industry Experience is the founder Director & CEO.He is into technology validation  and marketing development, R&D Enzymatic modification.
Abhay Shendye
  • Neeta Katte (43) a B.Sc. in Microbiology (Industrial) has 20 years Industry Experience.Her key role involves Manufacturing QA, Research and Development on pathogen centric aspects.
  • Mr Somnath Patankar (29) with M. Sc. in Horticulture has 5 years of industry experience and is in Vitro Research and Field Research and demonstrations.
  • Rupali Shinde (28) has M.Sc. in Microbiology and Industry Experience of 3 years. She is engaged in Chemical modifications of chitosan, Pathogen characterization, anti-microbial studies.
  • Vishnu Adsul (35) is into sales and marketing with 7 years of industry experience.

Unique Selling Proposition and the Scenario

The concept of building disease resistance in plants itself is rather innovative. The product base for that is being patented. So there is quite some innovation around the product and application.

More over, the delivery mechanism for these products is more socially relevant. Agro is keen to deliver benefits to the end user and wish to address issues of BoP population rather than selling the products through a commercial chain by tailoring the products to suit the needs of BoP population.

As far as the need of managing disease is concerned, today it is largely met using toxic chemicals after the disease symptoms are seen. These chemicals are quickly becoming ineffective. Some biological alternatives are available, but they are not as effective as BioAvert I.

Whole world is quickly shifting towards safer biological alternatives. Since Agro is trying to mimic Mother Nature in our BioAvert I program, it has become more robust and highly sustainable alternative.

Participate, Get Mentored and Funded

Swasti Agro is self funded and is looking out for funds of around 9 crore. They participated in Start-up India Rocks event. They have a pool of mentors for business development and technology side but not for financial part and have been associated with Venture Centre Pune and CIIE, IIM Ahmedabad with a support needed on financial aspects and valuation of the company.

Proof that They have Reached the Stars

  • Won IIGP competition of DST. June 2016
  • GES2016 trip to Silicon Valley sponsored by USAID as winner of Sankalp GIC 2016. April 2016
  • Times Digitization Award: Use of digitization for betterment of agriculture.

March 2016

  • ET Power of Ideas: Award of Rs 5 lakh as a “Promising Startup” January 2016
  • Won SVC treck at AFI forum 2016. January 2016
  • Mobile for Good Award of Vodafone foundation: Use of mobile technology for the betterment of farmers and agriculture. December 2015
  • Selected with first ranking (Agriculture) at Millennium Alliance. December 2015
  • Best Technical presentation (poster) at KPMC Hyderabad. November 2015
  • Received grants from BIRAC (BIG Grant) for Proof of Concept of the Plant Vaccine. June 2014
  • UnconventionL Award from Villgro: Under enterprise category for socially relevant implementation of the project. March 2015

The Primary Goal

Swasti Agro is planning to reach 500,000 farmers within 3 years. Venture trained at CIIE-IIM, IIGP, aims at minimizing risk and optimizing profitability for farmers. Companies in Canada and South Africa are interested in tie ups.

Read about Startup India Rocks

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