Bee FocusEnterpreneur BeeInterview

Transforming agriculture digitally

Harish Usgaonkar, Co-founder and CTO of Agcetra. Agcetra is an enabler platform for Urban Farming and Agritech services and training.

1. Tell us about your product or services?

In July, 2020 we launched Agcetra ( https://www.agcetra.com ) – a first of it’s kind Digital Aggregator platform tailor-made for Urban Farming. Agcetra revolves around a unique concept of “Urban Farming for everyone”. With this, we want to make farming easy and fun for everyone. It will also ease the adaptability of new age farming techniques for commercial farmers. We want to reverse the trend of people drifting away from agriculture. With modern techniques, growing food will be fun and lucrative too!.

As a platform, Agcetra is built with a vision of bringing all stakeholders of the agriculture industry working together with a vision to build a smart and technology driven farming community and in turn upgrade the food production industry. The e-commerce capabilities of the platform will ensure that these stakeholders can do business together. Growers can hire consultants, enroll for training or procure innovative products. The service providers or sellers get a medium to take their innovations to a lot more growers.

2. What makes your product/services unique and what competition do you see in India and globally?

There are a lot of startups working in the agriculture space. Our biggest USP is our niche and focus in Urban Farming. Urban Farming is an upcoming and futuristic segment of agriculture that focuses on new-age methods that can be done with minimal space requirements- indoors, roof-tops, homes, balconies and any open spaces and optimal use of resources like water.

 

3. What are the challenges you see in the market at this point of time?
At present, urban farming technologies are expensive. This is a major concern. We are working with our partner vendors on our platform to solve this problem. 

4. Tell us about your team and what inspires them?

Ajay Naik the founder & CEO is a serial entrepreneur with 7 yrs of entrepreneurial experience and 10+ yrs of IT experience. Harish Usgaonker, the co-founder and CTO has 14+ yrs of IT experience and 1.5 yrs of experience as tech consultant for start-ups. Along with that, we have two very passionate developers- Anay Nayak and Nandan Prabhudessai, who joined us after their BE graduation. They have done tremendous contribution in building and getting agcetra.com this far. Royston Dias (Operations Executive), has shown exemplary promise as he worked on the initial launch, vendor on-boarding and demos. On farming front, we have Sandeep Metri who has been with us right from the beginning. He knows the nitty-gritty of urban farming that helps a lot in getting the best products on the platform.Our biggest motivation is the vision and the impact that agcetra can lead to. After pandemic, we are talking about a lot of new normals. Urban Farming is also going to be a new normal in the near future, and we are excited to be working in this area and have the early mover advantage.

 

5. Where do you see your product/service reaching in the next five-years?

When we think of search engine, we think of Google, social media- we think of Facebook, chat application, we think of WhatsApp. Similarly, we want Agcetra to be the one that is though of when it comes to Urban Farming.

 

6. Do you have plans to raise funding to grow your business or allow your business to organically grow?

Yes, we are aggressively working towards raising funds. We are talking to various fund managers and pre-series investors. We have identified around 20 different pain-points in the urban farming arena, and we want to solve all those by making agcetra AI-enabled. For this, we will need to grow our team, reach out to people and also build a good customer support team. This is the right time for us to start the fund raising.

7. What are the challenges you face as a startup?
Like any early stage startups, funding is one of the biggest challenges that we have been facing, so that we can take this to the next level. Being a smal team, we are also facing challenges with recruiting and keeping up to the pace of various user inquiries we are getting. A lot of users are also not aware of such techniques. However, we see that post-pandemic could have been the best time to launch a concept like Agcetra, when people are going towards becoming self reliant. We also have a very active startup ecosystem evolving here in Goa with Startup Goa and Start up Goa mission. Of course, the incubation centre we are presently incubated at- FiiRE is also a great platform both for networking and grooming our entrepreneurial skills.

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