The Internet and smartphone adoption in India is growing rapidly.
With the increase in Internet consumption, the services around the network are also seeing a surge in demand. People are now inclined towards shopping for things online rather than the offline markets.
Be it a tech gadget or your groceries, everything can now be ordered in just a few minutes of time. The eCommerce sector in India was valued at US$ 48.5 billion in the year 2018 and is expected to reach US$ 200 billion by 2026.
In this brand story, we are covering an interesting eCommerce marketplace idea. A platform that allows people to search and discover agricultural land. Let us dive deep into the story behind SFarmsIndia and how it all started from the idea to its execution:
SFarmsIndia is an agri-land search and discovery portal connecting verified sellers to buyers across the country. SFarmsIndia was founded by Mr. Kamesh Mupparaju in 2018 with headquarters in Hyderabad, India.
The company was established with a vision to build India’s largest Agri-Land Marketplace. Operating at the intersection of agriculture and real estate, the company is solving the challenge of connecting sellers primarily in villages of India to buyers all across the country.
Currently, the portal has around 21,000 buyers and sellers as regular users. Pre-seed funding of $50K kickstarted the startup’s journey two years ago. Since then, they have grown exponentially year on year.
🏷️ Their tagline: India’s first Agri-land marketplace
Startup’s Mission and Vision
🎯 Mission Statement: To offer the customers the best available agri-land selection, accurate pricing related information & the fastest transaction time
📌 Vision Statement: To be India’s largest and trusted Agri-land marketplace, covering every Pincode of India
About The Founders and Info About Their Team
Kamesh is a serial entrepreneur with vast experience cutting across multiple domains including Fintech, Cryptocurrency & Agri-realty. He founded BTCXIndia, the first cryptocurrency exchange in India, and successfully exited in 2018.
Prior to his entrepreneurial pursuits, Kamesh worked with reputed financial institutions like Religare. Kamesh holds an MBA degree with a specialization in Finance.
Shiva is a technocrat with vast experience in Blockchain, Trade engines & Medical image processing. He set up a venture named Blockonomics in 2015. Prior to this, Shiva worked as a techno consultant in Singapore. Shiva did MTech- Computer applications from IIT, Delhi.
Other team members are:
- Suresh Kumar S (BBA from Stenden University) is the Business Development Head at SFarmsIndia
- Neha D, Strategist (B.Sc(Ag) from MPKV- Rahuri) looks after Agri lands ManagementKranthi
- Rekha (MS in IT from JNTU Hyderabad) is a Full-Stack Developer at the company
SFarmsIndia’s Story and How It All Started
Kamesh comes from a middle-class family with most of the relatives owning and relying on agricultural land for livelihood. The critical push came when his father struggled to sell an agri-land parcel.
Even though the land was intrinsical of high value, lack of access to the right buyers and clarity on price was the clear pain points. This prompted him to leverage the internet and digital technologies to connect buyers & sellers in addition to bridging the information gaps in the system.
Major Challenges Faced During Their Initial Stage
Building a company at the intersection of agriculture and real estate is a challenging but much-needed endeavor. Being unique and one of the firsts in the market, a major challenge is to educate the customer segment adequately before engaging them on the platform. This requires great effort and patience.
The sellers primarily reside in rural areas of the country, who may not be tech-savvy internet users. SFarmsIndia has worked on developing a network of freelancers who work hyperlocal to onboard sellers onto the platform. Through a specialized customer service team, they are now onboarding sellers through WhatsApp as well.
Land laws are subject to state acts. Hence SFarmsIndia is coordinating with government agencies and innovation labs for Unified Property Rights. The government is readying a draft model Land Title Act and soon it will be presented in the Parliament. This will become a central act instead of a state act.
How The Platform Works?
There are two major solutions:
Agri-Land Search Portal:
SFarmsIndia offers an Agri-land discovery platform. Prospective sellers can register on their website & submit their land listing for free.
This can be done by filling in relevant details & adding images online or simply by sharing the listing information on WhatsApp with an SFarmsIndia Customer Representative. Similarly, prospective buyers can search the agri-lands based on various parameters including but not limited to Land Type, State & District.
- Sign up – verified mobile number, email id
- Search for the listings based on state, district, price range
- Buyer contacts the verified sellers through a phone call
- Buyer and seller mutually arrange site visits & finally complete a transaction
Small Farms Offering:
SFarmsIndia has exclusive partnerships with credible small farm developers. Owning these small farms is preferred by software/white-colored professionals in cities and towns as the developers shoulder the responsibility of maintaining the farms for a period of 5 years even after the sale.
- Sign up – verified mobile number, email id
- Property details uploaded
- An executive verifies the details and approves the listing
- Get buyer leads on the phone
What Is Their Business Model?
SFarmsIndia generates value to multiple stakeholders on the platform:
- Buyers: Highest available agri-land selection, accurate information along with perfect price prediction, the reliable contact information of sellers
- Sellers: Access to buyers from across the country, fastest time to transaction completeness, fair price for their land
- Exclusive Partners: A lead generation channel with end-to-end sale assistance
💰 Revenue Generation: Buyers who would like to view contact information for more than 5 listings, can choose to subscribe to the premium or premium plus plan. Similarly, sellers willing to list more than 3 properties can choose to subscribe to the pro or fulfill plans. In addition, SFarmsIndia also has exclusive partnerships with a few credible small farm developers.
💸 SFarmsIndia’s Funding and Investors: In 2018, angel investor Linus Lindgren gave pre-seed funding of $50K into the company.
Linus Lindgren (Investor) is a strategic investor and advisor in SFarmsIndia. Linus and Kamesh have a history of successful long-term business partnerships which include BTCXIndia as well. Linus currently runs Lindgren Laboratories which offers consultancy for early-stage startups & investors looking to invest in startups in London, UK. Linus holds a master’s degree from the University of Gothenburg.
SFarmsIndia’s Current Growth and Future Plans
The total gross property value on the portal is currently 44000 Crore. SFarmsIndia is growing at a rapid pace of 220% annually in terms of the number of listings. Currently, there are 5000 agri-land listings from the Telugu states alone.
Also, they are planning to expand to Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Maharashtra by the end of 2021. They are following a cluster expansion strategy with a focus on the southern part of the country in the initial phase.
After replicating the business model in these states, the company is looking at implementing the best practices learned in expanding to the North in the second quarter of 2022. As per the vision, their land listings will be in every pin code across India by the end of 2023.
📌 There are multiple initiatives in the pipeline:
SFarmsIndia is partnering with a top management institute in India for building a price prediction model. This model would leverage state-of-the-art Artificial Intelligence techniques on top of rich structured Agri realty data covering a host of parameters.
They are also partnering with financial institutes for the loans to buy agricultural lands and partnered with international companies for farm management & water management services.
The team is working on building a custom app for their freelancers for making their daily operations easier. With a simple user interface and dashboards, they would be able to onboard more Agri property listings onto the platform and review their earnings in real-time.
SFarmsIndia also has plans to launch a “land fraction trading” platform. In land fraction trading, customers would be able to buy and sell the smallest fraction of the land on a real-time basis through their trade engine.
Once the Land Title Act comes into place (regulatory push), they will launch the full-fledged trade engine for buying and selling land fractions ( 1/1000 of the acre). SFarmsIndia assures enough liquidity in the system for facilitating real-time transactions between buyers & sellers.
Soon they will launch Agro-Industry lands offering by replacing land services. Agri entrepreneurs can benefit by searching and buying the industry lands in Argo Processing clusters (APCs) and mega food parks.
The local agents finding buyers through offline channels in villages are one of their competitors. They are individually limited by scale both in terms of geography and volume. However, they can also benefit by leveraging the SFarmsIndia platform.
SFarmsIndia aims to eliminate middlemen who take commissions to the tune of more than 10 percent of the land value by being opaque about the pricing. Such middlemen are their competitors as well.
When it comes to existing marketplace platforms in the market, magicbricks, 99 acres, housing.com, proptiger, etc could become their competitors if they start focussing on the agri-land market as well. But currently, it is not their primary focus.