Dealflow | March 12, 2019

India’s TartanSense raises $2.2 million to boost access to farm tech

Jessica Pothering
ImpactAlpha Editor

Jessica Pothering

ImpactAlpha, March 12 – Bangalore-based TartanSense is building robotic sensors and pesticide sprayers to better control chemical use on India’s small farms. Investments from impact-focused agtech investor Omnivore Partners, Blume Ventures, and BEENEXT will support the startup’s first product: a weed spraying bot for cotton farmers.

Fifty-five percent of Indians depend on farming to earn a living, and most of them work or manage small farms. Yet many of them face income insecurity, for reasons ranging from water insecurity and land contamination to operational inefficiency and poor access to markets.

TartanSense is tackling several of these issues at once, by developing small, low-cost technologies that can detect unhealthy or invasive plants and handle targeted pesticide and fertilizer spraying to reduce farmer’s chemical use.

“We are democratizing technology to small farm holders that has historically been available to large farms in the west by focusing on affordability and portability,” TartanSense’s Jaisimha Rao said. The company claims its products will help farmers save money and boosts incomes.

TartanSense’s early work focused on the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, for use on palm oil plantations.

Its first product, called the BrijBot, is designed to help cotton farmers lower the cost and need for weeding. TartanSense wants to build onto the product to also help farmers automate harvesting.