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Entrepreneurship

 

Accelerator pitch: Sachin Shende and Giles Barker of KisanHub

Can you pitch your genius business idea in the time it takes to get from the ground floor to the C-suite? KisanHub’s Dr Sachin Shende and Giles Barker, on the Cambridge Judge Accelerate Cambridge programme, take up the baton.

Farmer and LaptopThe background

The recent IPCC report on climate change warned that the changing weather is already affecting our global food supply. Farmers worldwide are facing an unprecedented challenge – the founders of KisanHub reckon they are ready to tackle the problem head-on.

The brains

Dr Sachin Shende, whose background is in technology, data analytics and investment management, and Giles Barker, who specialises in business operations.

The product

KisanHub (Kisan in Hindi means “farmer” or “cultivator”) is a cloud-based, simple-to-use software platform that brings together public and private data to help farmers take informed decisions about their day-to-day operations and markets. This data-driven, decision-making platform will improve farm business efficiency and make farming more sustainable.

Sachin Shende

Sachin Shende

The business case

Farming is a globally connected business; the technology landscape is complex, while data is scattered across silos and comes in different formats. Farmers are short of time and are usually hands-on people; as a result, the majority of farmers do not use technology tools to aid their decision making. Also, the current technology is far too complex. We both know farming and farmers, and they want something easy to use. They don’t want to spend hours in front of a computer!

The timing

The first version of KisanHub was released in October 2012 as a blog. Since then we have been working to improve it. We released our latest version in January 2014, the first decision-support system to take an integrated approach towards data – and aggregate disparate data sources – to support the decision-making process.

The strategy for growth

We raised our seed funding round in April 2014, and work on development of the platform is going full steam ahead. The plan is to launch new features in the web platform and mobile app in mid-September. Our initial market focus will be arable farms in the UK, and then we will look to expand in other developed countries. We’re also looking at India as a go-to market.

Giles Barker

Giles Barker

The future

Our vision is to make KisanHub a key part of a farm’s operating system, and curate every single key piece of data to help farmers take better agronomic and/or business decisions. We’re also looking forward to partnering up with other farming data and research organisations, as there is a lot of movement and concern around using data to increase the effectiveness of farming.

The Accelerator

It’s been a real game-changer. The programme put a structure around the idea and business proposition by providing classroom training, one-to-one meetings and advice through a very diverse network of mentors. By being part of the programme, we have become so much more streamlined. The guidance on the business strategy has given the business a real grounding, and the mentoring and advice is invaluable. We have just been awarded £15,000 by the school – it’s more than money, though, it’s an endorsement of the team and a validation of the idea.