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Harshit Gupta | 29Co-founder, Gramophone
Harshit Gupta had been working at Oyo but remained in touch with his IIM-Ahmedabad batchmates Tauseef Khan (34) and Nishant Mahatre (35). All of them wanted to do something in the agriculture sector and set up Gramophone—a company that would provide advice and information to farmers about crop cycles and solutions to various problems they encounter, in a bid to improve farming efficiency and, therefore, income. The company was founded in 2016 and co-founder Ashish Rajan Singh (34), who had also been involved since the beginning, officially joined in 2018.
Gaining the trust of farmers was a challenge—why would someone who had been growing crops for years listen to them—as was familiarising farmers with concepts as simple as missed calls. They would call them back and also started delivering products suggested as solutions to them, combining advisory with retail.
It has been steady progress—from a few calls a day when they set up in 2016, they now have 5.5 to 6 lakh farmers on board and have raised $8.06 million in funding so far. Revenues have grown 15x in the past two years.
Besides providing input products, since October, the platform also started connecting farmers to buyers. “Since we know the sowing date, the crop being grown, the total area a farmer has sown it on, and when it can be harvested, we have an estimate of how many farmers, in which areas, and the quantities of produce,” says Khan. That again helps farmers get better opportunities to sell produce and improve their incomes.Click here for 30Under30 full list
Satisfaction comes from the appreciation they get. “Last year, we were travelling with one of our investors for a field visit and one of the farmers commented that Gramophone hamare crops ko baccho ki tarah paalte hain
(Gramophone looks after our crops like children), adding that his income had improved,” says Gupta.
“What they have been able to deliver to farmers makes us very optimistic that in the next three to five years, they will be a complete agritech offering for the farmer on inputs and market linkage, while also powering greater data-driven farm credit,” says Aditi Gupta, principal, investments, Asha Impact, which has invested in the company.
(This story appears in the 12 February, 2021 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)