W Power 2024

Abhishek Agarwal: Creating wealth by offering health

The co-founder and director of Farmley has maintained direct connections with over 5,000 farmers and producers, ensuring that products meet the highest standards

Darielle Britto
Published: Feb 28, 2024 02:48:26 PM IST
Updated: Feb 28, 2024 02:52:04 PM IST

Abhishek Agarwal: Creating wealth by offering healthAbhishek Agarwal, Co-founder and director, Farmley Image: Amit Verma; Directed By: Kapil Kashyap; Outfit: Saggar Mehra; Styled By: Aarushi Gaur

Abhishek Agarwal | 29
Co-founder and director, Farmley

Business talk around cash flow, vendor relationships and customer management during family dinner conversations sparked an interest in Abhishek Agarwal from a young age.

It put him on a path to pursue a BTech in Mechanical Engineering at IIT-Roorkee. It was during those days that Agarwal immersed himself in campus startups, soaking up insights, gaining hands-on experience, and even experienced the success of an early venture.

This laid the groundwork for founding Farmley, which was born out of discussions between Agarwal and Akash Sharma, 31 (co-founder and CEO of the company and an IIT-Delhi graduate). The two were flatmates in Delhi in 2017 when they were looking to start something of their own.

During a field trip to Bareilly, Agarwal saw that the cost of production often outweighed the income farmers earned from selling their produce. Both Agarwal and Sharma wanted to provide sustainable agricultural solutions at the grassroots.

 They started Farmley as a B2B wholesale company in 2017, primarily supplying dry fruits and nuts to retail ventures like Reliance and Grofers. In May 2020, it established itself as a B2C brand. “Maintaining direct connections with over 5,000 farmers and producers, Farmley ensures that our products meet the highest standards,” Agarwal says.

The company established five farm-gate processing units closer to the sources of origin. “This strategic move not only ensures better quality for consumers, but also supports farmers with improved incomes,” he says.

Farmley forayed into the dry fruits and nuts category and later expanded within the healthy snacking segment, offering over 100 products such as date bits, roasted makhanas, and flavoured cashews. “This transition showcased the adaptability of the business and underscored Farmley’s commitment to innovation and meeting evolving consumer demands,” Agarwal says further. “Farmley has crossed the `300 crore annualised revenue run-rate (ARR) milestone and has grown by over 400 percent over the last two years. It has also turned Ebitda positive.”

Making the venture what it is today was no easy feat, especially in the first two years. Due to their focus on making investments in backend linkages, it took time to convince potential investors. It was only in 2019 that Farmley’s credibility was established as it secured its first investment and eventually opened the doors to subsequent funding rounds.

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“Recently, Farmley raised $6.7 million in a Pre-Series B round of funding led by BC Jindal Group with participation from existing investors DSG Consumer Partners, Omnivore and Alkemi Partners,” he says.

Hariharan Premkumar, MD and India head of DSG Consumer Partners, and an investor in Farmley, says Agarwal has a great mix of high ambition while being frugal. “He is very strong on speed of execution,” says Premkumar.

Abhishek Agarwal: Creating wealth by offering health

Farmley, Premkumar says, started as a B2B business with strong product and backend capabilities, which has laid a fantastic foundation for the business to scale rapidly. “It is a multi-billion dollar market opportunity and the Farmley team has the product and execution capabilities to build a world-class business,” adds Premkumar.


(This story appears in the 23 February, 2024 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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