Undeniably, the quality of the food is the single most value multiplier across the food value chains. However, when it comes to assessing the quality of the food, there are many issues that need to be addressed. A leading agtech startup, AgNext Technologies, is using AI-based technologies to solve food quality assessment issues.
By integrating hardware, software, and data analytics, AgNext has innovated full-stack solutions that enable rapid assessment techniques for quality estimation in the post-harvest supply chain. With the increasing penetration of deep-tech, AgNext aims to standardize the food quality assessment across the value chains to facilitate a safer, fairer, and more transparent food trade.
We at Insights Success caught up with Mr. Taranjeet Singh Bhamra, the Founder and CEO of AgNext Technologies, to know more about the company and how it is revolutionizing AgTech for more sustainable agriculture
The Journey So Far
AgNext’s journey began at IIT-Kharagpur in 2016. It received its first seed funding in 2017, powered by a-idea NAARM. Later, it raised capital from renowned investors like Omnivore and Kalaari, and recently from Falcon-Edge managed Alpha Wave Incubation (AWI) fund. In September 2021, AgNext raised over USD $21 million, the largest Series A raised by any Indian agtech start-up till date.
Currently, AgNext aims to digitize food quality using AI-based food assessment technologies.
Story of Fierce Perseverance, Determination and Grit
Solving food quality issues in agriculture was not an easy goal that leaders at AgNext set for themselves. AgNext’s story is a story of fierce perseverance, determination, and grit because, for the initial few years of its journey, its leaders dedicatedly focused on building and improving AgNext’s technology. From tirelessly collecting millions of data-sets from multiple geographies to persistently building AI-based models which can seamlessly function on-ground, even without direct internet access or electricity, AgNext’s vision was their North star, which kept them going to tackle all challenges.
AgNext has faced common as well as some uncommon hurdles, considering the unique concepts it has introduced in the agtech space. However, despite all the obstacles, its technological prowess and a brilliantly focused team have gained AgNext the support of key investors, clients, and other stakeholders who have helped the company today to scale as one of India’s leading agtech start-ups.
Generating Value for Stakeholders Even in Tough Times
Taranjeet expresses that the disruptions in the agtech sector brought on by COVID have led to unique technological adoptions across the board. The pandemic led to the destabilization of supply lines and hindered the movement of resources and workforce across national and international borders. This was one of the biggest challenges faced by almost every company. However, the companies that adopted technological solutions to circumvent such challenges, were not only able to continue operational tasks, but also continued to generate value for their stakeholders.
AgNext, massively scaled its collaboration with existing and new partners to leverage strengths of each other for smooth exchange of data points, information, and on-ground feedback.
Empowering Fair-Trading Practices and A Robust Model of Quality
With an integrated approach to frontier technologies, AgNext has innovated hardware, software, and data analytics solutions that together concentrate on reducing the quality estimation time of Agri-produce to a matter of seconds, thereby ensuring a value-driven flow of quality across the supply line. AgNext’s full-stack platform ‘Qualix’ enables AI-driven instant access to food quality testing. It provides SaaS-based solutions to manage, monitor, and evaluate quality in the post-harvest supply chain using sophisticated data analytics to cull out crucial business insights.
The deployment of Qualix at distinct assessment stages helps AgNext build trust and transparency in food chain management systems. With the combined potential of these tech-driven solutions, AgNext empowers fair-trading practices and a robust model of quality.
Instilling Culture Based on Values of Trust and Transparency
Taranjeet believes that strong company culture is a shared set of values and beliefs that guide an organization towards a successful future. He says, “Positive work culture is what frames the success of your company, and it is essential to sustain an emphatic working environment to foster healthy engagement and a productive flow of ideas.”
AgNext has created many communication channels to encourage healthy discourse across the company. By instilling the values of trust and transparency in its work culture, it has focused on building initiatives that not only motivate its colleagues but also facilitate positivity in the workplace. Additionally, it ensures a positive flow of potential from distinct backgrounds with diversity and inclusivity.
AgNext also prioritizes work-life balance to root out potential burn-outs and stresses, which can hamper productivity and positivity of the people at work.
Cutting Down Food Quality Assessment Time
AgNext is at the forefront of agricultural revolution 4.0. By digitizing and standardizing quality, it is challenging the subjective traditional quality assessment methods, and offering deep-tech powered solutions for rapid food quality assessments. Through Qualix, agribusinesses can cut down the food quality assessment time from a stretch of hours to a matter of seconds and also manage and monitor quality flow in their supply chains.
Facilitating Better Profit Margins for Farmers
Farmers also benefit from AgNext’s instant food quality assessment technology that is backed by AI-on-the-edge. In traditional set-up, a farmer spends months cultivating a crop and when he goes to sell it, it is subjectively and manually analyzed for food quality, a process which has a high error rate. By using technology to standardize food quality testing, farmers can be assured of fair-pricing of their Agri-produce which leads to better profit margins. AgNext’s solutions benefit all stakeholders in the food value chains, thus fostering trust and transparency between buyers and sellers.
Increasing Geographical Footprint and Commodities Portfolio
In conclusion, Taranjeet mentions that AgTech is an emerging sector, but there is a rapidly growing interest across the world in the potential of new-age technologies. So, the pressure to perform is high, but AgNext has significantly invested in building its technological infrastructure and prowess, which ultimately is the key differentiating factor.
Additionally, AgNext is also investing in building great teams across the board who share in its belief that the future of agriculture is digital. In the next five years, AgNext will focus on increasing its geographic footprint and its commodities portfolio to lead at the global scale.