Startup Stories

Tech innovation start-ups are bringing in for Indian agriculture sector

In conversation with Milan Sharma, CEO - Intello Labs, graduate from IIT Bombay with a B.Tech in Mechanical Engineering and M.Tech in Robotics and Automation.

Intellolabs

Artificial Intelligence is the future of agriculture sector that can aid in regulating the proper use of land, water and energy to dodge food crisis.

Intello Labs utilised this opportunity and developed innovative farming solutions that will help address the needs of Indian farmers.

The solutions enable farmers to switch to smarter techniques to control crop infestation, reduce human interference and standardize results thereby bringing a positive impact on the ecosystem.

Headquartered in Bangalore, Intello Labs began its operations in June 2016 by providing unique analytics and Computer Vision solutions for the ecommerce sector.

The company then pivoted towards the agriculture sector, and then there has been no looking back. The underlying idea of Intello Labs is to revolutionize the agriculture sector through its disruptive technology.

Intello Labs works with 10-odd clients – including one of the State Governments, one of India’s leading organized food retailers, an Agri e-commerce firm, one of the world’s largest commodity trading companies, etc.

Team Bizztor interviewed him to know more about Intello Labs.

How did your startup idea come into being, is there any story behind it?

I (Milan Sharma, CEO) was in Sweden a few years back, and was amazed at the number of global brands that started there; also, the startup ecosystem seemed buzzing with action. That inspired me to come back and start something of my own.

Our venture into Agri domain in itself was purely chance, to be candid. We were exploring a variety of business problems that could be solved using computer vision.

Someone mentioned that a state government entity was exploring digital support in quality grading; as we dug deeper, we realized that this was a massive opportunity, and absolutely under-served.

Also Read: 5 Ingredients for a Successful Startup!

How do you differentiate your startup from the others in this segment?

Our technology/platform is our biggest advantage. We leverage the most advanced Analytics tools and techniques –Deep Learning, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data.

Our technical skills combined with a focus on Agribusiness will keep us ahead of the competition. Also, specifically in the type of image processing that we do (micro, up-close), there is hardly any competition.

What are the challenges that you have been facing as an agritech startup?

Hiring is the biggest challenge; computer vision is not a very old technology, talent is rare and expensive. To convince someone to join an unknown start-up at low compensation in a highly competitive talent market is simply a nightmare.

Do you have any expansion plans?

Yes, We will expand geographically; currently, most of our discussions are in India; soon, we will initiate aggressive sales push in global markets (US, UK, Nordics, Africa, etc.)

Also Read: How to Start a Small Business in India – 7 Step Guide to launch

What are the issues you are trying to solve with your startup?

We develop computer vision based solutions for Agriculture problems with images as our key data to provide insightful and actionable recommendations.

Food quality is critical to all players in the value chain – from farmer to consumer. When food companies/food retailers buy commodities, they struggle to get the quality assessment right.

The current process involves a lot of subjectivity and major errors. Eventually, they suffer from poor customer feedback since low-quality products escape the quality check.

Mention the customer base you are targeting and how it will help them?

We are looking at the entire agri supply chain…from farmer to procurement centres (or Mandis) to warehouses to retail shops; to consumers; each and every corporate “buying entity” in this supply chain wants a better solution to assess the quality of the commodities being purchased.

Current practices are prone to human errors, filled with malpractices, and completely opaque. Our dream is to bring complete transparency in this ecosystem.

Any success stories and additional information about your startup you would like to share.

Our work with Reliance Fresh has gone extremely well; you can check out their CFO’s testimonial here.

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