The Agriculture sector in Pakistan has been picking up since last year with vast lands and immense untapped opportunities, offering significant potential for digitization and tech disruption. The first quarter of the financial year 2022, reported a dominance of international investment in the region.
Pakistan has one of the highest international investor proportions across the top emerging venture market, as over 70% of all investors backing Pakistan-based startups in Q1 2022 were international investors. Almost all the major rounds recorded by the region this year including the likes of Bazaar, Jugnu, Truck It In, and NayaPay saw increased participation of international investors with big names like Tiger Global (USA), 100 Ventures (KSA), Seedstars (Singapore), and Kingsway Capital (UK) among others with regional investors also showing no hesitancy in supporting local homegrown startups.
Among the startups that are trying to gauge the country’s untapped sectors with immense business potential, one such agritech is Farmdar.
What is Farmdar?
The startup was launched back in 2021, by childhood friends Muhammed Bukhari, Muzaffar Manghi, and Ibrahim Bokhari who himself is a third-generation large farmer.
The Farmdar journey kick-off when the founders started exporting produce and soon after discovered that Pakistani produce was considered low quality in the UK and UAE markets. This prompted the founders to do something about it. One of the founders, Ibrahim Bokhari said in a statement:
We looked at supply chain improvements first, like a cold chain, which allowed us to extend shelf life but our underlying quality was still poor. We then tried remote sensing and precision agriculture technology and it created a step-change in quality and yield whilst reducing our input costs.
The startup’s objective is to use data and artificial intelligence to build a food-secure world. This will further empower farmers with actionable data to lower costs, increase yield, enhance quality and reduce waste.
Background of Founders
Muhammed is an alumnus of the Queen Mary University of London and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Science. He started his professional career as Group Financial Analyst and Product Manager at Cobra Beer.
Later, he moved to McKinsey & Company as an Analyst. Throughout the course of his journey, he remained affiliated with a number of international companies. Then in 2021, he alongside his childhood friends founded Farmdar.
Muzaffar is an alumnus of Karachi University. After completing his undergrad he joined JWT as a Creative Director and later joined Ogilvy and Mather in the same capacity.
In 2017, he became the CEO of Manghi Communication Solutions and finally, in 2021 he co-founded Farmdar.
In 2016, Ibrahim completed his Higher National Diploma from Nottingham Trent University, in Business Administration and Management.
Then in 2021, he co-founded Farmdar.
Keeping in view, the rapidly growing global population, Farmdar’s vision is to create a food secure world and empower farmers in Pakistan with technology to harness control over their produce and its true value.
The startup creates usable data for farms and businesses by combining cutting-edge technology with high-resolution, multi-band satellite images. This information directly impacts both farmers’ and businesses’ efficiency and profitability.
By virtue of yield increase with waste and input reduction, Farmdar’s data also helps reduce the impact of agricultural activity on climate change. Farmdar is also a part of the Greentech Alliance.
Seed Round: Raised $1.3 million
In June 2022, Farmdar announced that it had raised $1.3 million in a seed funding round led by Indus Valley Capital with participation from other strategic investors from Pakistan, the Middle East, and the US, including:
- Deosai Ventures
- Tricap Investments
- United Distributors Pakistan Limited
- The Community Fund VC
- LMKR, and K2 Global Ventures.
All in all, the agritech’s use of technology with remote sensing through satellites makes their growth scalable and aligns with the vision to solve a global problem of agricultural sustainability.
Furthermore, the recently raised funding will enable Farmdar to scale rapidly across Pakistan, hire and develop tech talent, and also apply use cases from Pakistan in foreign markets such as Thailand, Turkey, Bangladesh, Malaysia, the Philippines, and across the Middle East.