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Exclusive: Indonesia agritech firm raises $1.6m to boost farmers’ income

as published by Tech in Asia

Semaai, an Indonesia-based agritech startup, has raised US$1.65 million in a bridge funding round led by Accion Venture Lab and XA Network. Existing investors such as Beenext and Sequoia Capital India’s Surge also participated in the fundraise.

This brings Semaai’s total funding to US$2.9 million to date.

In an interview with Tech in Asia, Semaai CEO and co-founder Yoga Anindito said the firm will use the fresh funds to expand its farming outputs business with market linkages. He believes this will help maximize the income potential of farmers and agri MSMEs.

“We will also expand digital advisory services for agri MSMEs and build new services to help them gain access to agriculture production equipment that is affordable and located close by,” Anindito explains.

Anindito, the former CEO of agri distributor Hasana, founded Semaai in April 2021 alongside Abhishek Gupta and Gaurav Batra.

Semaai initially focused on agricultural inputs and then expanded into on-farm (such as agri-advisory and agritech) and agriculture outputs (such as buying and selling crops).

The company provides a marketplace app to sell various agriculture products, such as seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, equipment, as well as services like harvesting and drone sprayers.

Meanwhile, Anindito also said that Semaai is involved in supplying crops to B2C startups and supermarket chains. However, he declined to reveal the names of these companies.

Semaai obtains products and crops from its partnerships with MSMEs and agri retailers. Anindito said the company saw a 37x growth in monthly transactions and a 20x bump in revenue in 2022.

Semaai currently has a presence in nearly 3,000 villages, with a focus on Central Java. Anindito said it had no plans to expand outside the province yet.

“We are aware that expanding into new areas in the agriculture sector is costly, so we focus on our services first. We don’t want to enter new area and sink,” he says.

Amid the tough current economic conditions, which have weighed on the startup industry in the past year, Anindito believes that the agritech sector is not affected because “everyone needs to eat.”

Indonesia has almost 29% of the country’s workforce in the agricultural sector, supporting his belief.

The CEO also emphasizes that Semaai has been committed to sustainable growth from the very beginning. The company has not made any changes in strategy in dealing with the current economic conditions, he adds.

“We do not lay off employees or cut wages. From day one we were quite conservative in terms of finances and disciplined in execution,” says Anindito.

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