Microsoft launches new programme to empower agritech startups in India

A farmer shows wheat grains after threshing at a field. Photo: PTI
Microsoft on Wednesday launched a new programme to help agritech startups in India build industry-specific solutions, scale and grow with access to deep technology, business and marketing resources.

The three-tier programme offers tech and business enablement resources to Series C startups that can boost their businesses with Azure benefits (including free credits), unlimited technical support and help with Azure Marketplace onboarding, the company said in a statement.

"The Microsoft for Agritech Startups programme is among the early steps in our journey towards empowering these startups in India and transforming global agricultural practices," said Sangeeta Bavi, Director, Startup Ecosystem, Microsoft India.

Startups with enterprise-ready solutions can scale quickly with joint go-to-market strategies, technical support and new sales opportunities with Microsoft's partner ecosystem.

Lastly, agritech startups that are looking to create digital agriculture solutions have the opportunity to co-build customised solutions with Azure FarmBeats without investing in deep data engineering resources.

Available on the Azure Marketplace, Azure FarmBeats enables aggregation of agricultural datasets across providers and generation of actionable insights by building artificial intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) models based on fused datasets.

Using Azure FarmBeats, startups can acquire, aggregate and process agricultural data and rapidly develop their own AI/ML models, said Microsoft.

Growing at the rate of 25 per cent year-on-year, the country currently hosts more than 450 startups in the agritech sector, according to a recent Nasscom report.

Agritech startups in the country received more than $248 million funding in the first half of 2019, a growth of 300 per cent as compared to the same period in the previous year.

"Sustainable agricultural technology can transform the global food landscape. Agritech startup innovations are addressing some of our key challenges connected to agriculture and food production," said Bavi.

Bringing together startups, corporates, industry bodies, governments and venture capital firms, the programme aims to create a shared platform for learning and innovation, said Microsoft.


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