Accelerating digital technology in agriculture: India agtech startups’ transition to scale
Digital technologies and services are rapidly expanding in virtually every aspect of the global economy and society, and the agriculture sector is no exception. This expansion creates new opportunities to deploy massive, agile, personalized, cost-effective, and digitally-enabled agricultural services capable of reaching even the poorest and most vulnerable populations , and driving a new digital revolution in agriculture that may prove to be as consequential as the Green Revolution of 1965-1986. There are, however, significant challenges that need to be addressed to ensure this revolution does not by-pass smallholder farmers and includes the widespread adoption and use of digital agricultural technology among them.
This study has two objectives. The first is to develop a better understanding of the challenges that digital agriculture (“AgTech”) startups face as they seek to progress from proof of concept to profitable growth, and, ultimately, to operation at large scale. The focus is on startups because they can play a critical role in extending AgTech innovation and services to a broader consumer base, including poorer customers, and help build an inclusive digital agriculture revolution. If Christensen’s argument holds true, new market-entrant startups can drive down costs and expand the reach of AgTech services and innovation in ways that established firms are incapable of doing or are unwilling to do. The second objective is to synthesize useful knowledge based on these results and develop recommendations for actions that help accelerate AgTech startups’ transitions to scale so they can serve smallholders profitably, equip food and farming systems with new tools to sustainably increase productivity, and support their adaptation to changing climatic and economic conditions.
King, Brian; Wong, Kelvin; Dhulipala, Ram; Southwood, Russell.