This Bangalore based agri asset management startup helps buyers own agricultural assets and manage it on their behalf through their farm-as-a-service model. In the process, it also helps farmers.
The city sizes increase in India, the last two decades saw a steep demand for real estate, with residential and commercial prices climbing sharply. However, in recent years, owing to an oversupply of assets, congestion, cost of living in cities, and other reasons, people have begun looking at other options for investment taking into account aspects like growth, lifestyle, and returns in both the short and long term.
This is where Hosachiguru comes in. The startup helps green enthusiasts own farmland, grow trees/fruit crops, and spend their weekends at the farm. All this without the hassle of day-to-day management of the farm.
The startup offers farmlands to customers, develops and manages the land, and helps them earn income on the produce. Crop monitoring, remote irrigation, disease control, weather forecasting (microclimate prediction), signal controlling, automation of controls and processes, soil and water monitoring, all are done with the help of IoT and AI.
The Tech Panda spoke to Srinath Setty, Co-founder of Hosachiguru, about their vision and growth story.
Hosachiguru was founded with a two-fold goal, one, to give back to the environment by growing trees instead of structures. Two, to help individuals easily own, manage, and reap the benefits of farmland
“Crowded cities, polluted air, and noisy streets. Given a chance, how many of us would like to get away from the hustle of city life? In the middle of our busy schedules, many of us dream of having that perfect weekend getaway, a farmhouse in the lap of nature, a chance to grow your food, and experience open blue skies,” he says.
“We give city folks a chance to live a life closer to nature. We provide you a chance to own farmland, grow trees/crops, and spend your weekends at your farm. All this without the hassle of the day-to-day management of the farm. We offer cherry-picked farmlands to customers, develop and manage the land, and help them enjoy the benefits,” he adds.
At the same time, the startup is also helping farmers.
“We have helped over 1000 local farmers with timber sapling supply. We have also converted 500 urban citizens to next-gen farmers over the last six years, with our managed farmland services,” he shares.
“We always employ local labor and farmers to work on our managed farms, in order to create jobs and contribute to social upliftment in the region. Not only do we employ locals who have a fair knowledge of the region, but we also contract local contractors for all activities at the farm. Make in India is an idea that all the directors truly push in everyday operations and farm management,” he says
What They Do
Hosachiguru is a Bengaluru based agriculture asset management startup that helps buyers own and manage well curated farmlands for long term wealth benefits.
Buyers can choose from quarter acre, half acre, and one-acre plots with price ranges between INR10-32 lakhs. Once they become owners of the land, they can choose to grow crops, vegetables and fruits of their choice, and timber trees.
The startup was started with the aim of offering a distinct asset class that satisfies all the requirements of today’s investors.
We give city folks a chance to live a life closer to nature. We provide you a chance to own farmland, grow trees/crops, and spend your weekends at your farm
Many working professionals are developing interest in owning farmland. However, buying and managing an agricultural farmland is a staggering task. From land acquisition challenges and availability of labour to lack of irrigation facilities and sales/marketing the produce, there are several challenges in owning and managing a farmland.
Hosachiguru makes buying agricultural land an easy affair and helps maintain it on a day-to-day basis. It picks farmlands based on important parameters such as clear land titles, soil, water availability and connectivity.
Once the owner invests in the farmland, Hosachiguru will grow and maintain trees and crops of the landowner’s choice. The owners are free to choose fruits, vegetables, and timber trees of their choice. Landowners can grow their food forest and are also free to partake in farming activities in the farmland. They can build their own weekend homes on 10% of their farmland.
A Combo of IoT & AI
The startup combines IoT and AI to analyse real-time data and create prediction models for weather forecasts based on trend analysis. This way, they prepare their farm management practices based on predicted climatic conditions.
Remote equipment operated from central data centres, smartphones or wireless devices, reduce manual labour, increase efficiency and associated costs. This combo of IoT and AI lets them expedite work cycles and manage farms efficiently.
IoT is changing the landscape of data monitoring into wireless devices that deliver accurate micro-climatic information. Smart irrigation systems, which are automated through IoT, allow monitoring of water flows into farms along with recharge of natural aquifers. Their sensors monitor and predict micro-climatic and soil conditions specific to each farm.
The MyFarm App
Setty informs that one of the prime recent developments of Hosachiguru has been their MyFarm app. With a display of farm assets, farm activities, and weather monitoring data, the app brings the experience of owning farmland to the customers’ fingertips.
Also, it uses this same data to help the operations team on the farm conduct their activities. These precision farming-based activities are updated daily, and they also provide real-time data to customers.
Origin & Inspiration
Founded by Setty, Ashok J and Sriram Chitlur in 2014, Hosachiguru was established on the idea of creating a lifestyle business for the original founders Chitlur and Ashok, later joined by Setty. Leaving their high-paying IT jobs, the pair dove into creating a service industry in the agricultural sector.
“The idea was to make investing in agricultural land financially attractive, while also choosing to live a greener life and give back to nature,” Setty says.
The idea was to make investing in agricultural land financially attractive, while also choosing to live a greener life and give back to nature
Their vision was to change the conventional view that agriculture was a low-income industry. Initially, they began with 1-2 projects, after which they realised the large unfulfilled demand for agricultural services.
“Hosachiguru was founded with a two-fold goal, one, to give back to the environment by growing trees instead of structures. Two, to help individuals easily own, manage, and reap the benefits of farmland,” he recalls.
They soon understood that managing large-scale agricultural projects, especially timber forests, required a high level of technicality and expertise. 20 projects and several years later, today, Hosachiguru has a team of expert agronomists, environmentalists, and project managers that keep the show running.
“The idea behind Hosachiguru is to create farmlands that are environmentally and economically sustainable. Hosachiguru picks farmlands based on important parameters such as clear land titles, soil, water availability, and connectivity,” he says.
With over 500+ customers, the company currently has 20 sustainable projects with 1000+ acres of land under cultivation. It has planted over a million trees and has close to US$30 million assets under management. The company is expected to close the financial year with a turnover of INR50 crores.
Over the last few months, due to WFH options, the enquiries for the startup’s farmlands have increased by 5-7 times.
It has also created jobs for 500+ farmers living in and around their project locations. Over the next six months, the startup is planning to launch three projects in the size range of 100-200 acres in the outskirts of Bangalore.
The startup raised an undisclosed amount four years ago from Angel investor Venkat Narayan, CEO of the Prestige Group.
The Hosachiguru USP
A managed farmland is an ideal investment for those who desire to own an agricultural asset. The landowner can grow crops of his/her choice or even grow a mini forest with timber trees. The proceeds from the sale of the crop can be enjoyed by the owners of the property for short term wealth and timber such as teak and sandalwood can be grown to generate long term income.
In addition to the economic benefits, a managed farmland opens up opportunities for individuals and families to live in communities away from the city while remaining connected to it. It could be a weekend getaway option or a temporary Work From Home setup.
While you may have always wanted to own farmland, you may not have the expertise or the time to do the same, and hence this isn’t sustainable for a long-term solution. Farmland as a long-term service model is a fairly new concept and one pioneered by Hosachiguru
“While you may have always wanted to own farmland, you may not have the expertise or the time to do the same, and hence this isn’t sustainable for a long-term solution. Farmland as a long-term service model is a fairly new concept and one pioneered by Hosachiguru,” says Setty.
He also adds that what sets the startup apart from companies dealing in the same genre is the experience provided to the customers.
“People visit our farm with the expectation of a weekend getaway, and Hosachiguru farms provide just that. The location of these farms is optimum; they are situated 90 minutes from the Kempegowda International Airport, which means they are at a decent distance from the city, but also not too far to travel to. Our farms consist of eco-retreats that enrich the customers’ farm stay and make it one to remember,” he says.
Hosachiguru is planning to venture into farmlands closer to the city, while also expanding its reach in farmlands that are attractively priced.
“The more the number of trees, the more is the carbon sequestration, which will result in more carbon credits. Hosachiguru aims to monetise these carbon credits that would provide massive carbon offsets,” reveals Setty.
The startup aims to set up 5,000 acres of farmland in the next three years and is planning to invest downstream in sandalwood and timber assets. It is also coming up with retreat homes on the farms, which blend responsibility with retreat. The eco-retreats will have permaculture gardens, plant nurseries, animal petting farms, and camping sites.
The more the number of trees, the more is the carbon sequestration, which will result in more carbon credits. Hosachiguru aims to monetise these carbon credits that would provide massive carbon offsets
“Such retreats are also becoming increasingly relevant in the present context. The bliss of nature coupled with the 5G Internet and fiber optics would also nurture a calm work environment in today’s Work-From-Home scenario,” he says.
“A big aspect of the foundation idea of the business has always been on creating a shift in the way people perceive agricultural lands. Today, wealth creation with simultaneous environmental and sustainable lifestyle benefits are now directly available to Hosachiguru customers,” he says proudly.
Additionally, the startup is also venturing into supporting all their managed farmlands by smart agricultural technology such as GIS monitoring and analysis of land parcels, spectral imaging of plant health, and sensor-based decision-making for irrigation management. This will allow Hosachiguru to optimise their management as scale increases.