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Former Paytm Mall executive Amit Sinha’s startup Unnati raises Rs 60 crore –

Former Paytm executive Amit Sinha’s agri-tech startup Unnati has raised Rs 60 crore from Incofin Investment Management, NabVentures and Orios in the Series A round of funding.

With the latest round, the company’s total funding raised amounts to around Rs75 crore. The company plans to utilise the capital to strengthen its tech infrastructure and beef up the store network.

Registered under the parent name of Akshamaala Solutions Pvt Ltd, Unnati was launched by Sinha and his friend Ashok Prasad in 2017.

The venture offers support services to farmers to improve yield. It also connects them to local retailers to procure agri-inputs such as sugarcane, corn, paddy, soybean, wheat and vegetable, acting as an e-commerce platform as well.

It has also started offering agriculture loans with an aim of becoming a one-stop destination for farmers.

The company will now be adding features on its platform related to farm diagnostics, farming lifecycle management, and supply chain management for partners. It is investing heavily into artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) platforms for bringing the latest digital tools to farmers and store partners.

It also plans to expand the employee strength to 500 by March from 200 now. In the technology wing alone, the company wants to step up the headcount four-fold to over 100. The rest of the workforce will be added to distribution and aggregation.

Till date, Unnati claims to have served more than 3 lakh farmers through its network of 20,000-plus uStores. It has been digitising agri-input retailers, traders and other ecosystem players.

“On the people front, we are adding right from the mid to senior levels,” Sinha told Moneycontrol in a recent interaction, adding that the company will soon launch a farmer app, which is in the beta stage.

Unnati is also focusing on the financing part and has introduced the ‘buy now pay later’ scheme for farmers.

“We are delighted to partner with Unnati Agri as they scale a tightly knit strategy of an integrated rural ecosystem of knowledge-based farm input advisory, financial inclusion and supply chain integration through the use of technology,” said Rahul Rai, Partner, Incofin India.

The company which has been operating in parts of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, now plans to expand to Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, besides going deeper into the three existing states.