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Samunnati – aspiring to define the next generation of Indian agriculture

THE IDEA

Samunnati was founded in June 2014 with a vision to make markets instrumental to the prosperity of smallholder farmers. It was Samunnati’s belief that mainstream financial markets, driven by a lop-sided sense of risk, were blind to the inherent potential of agriculture. Powered by a deep understanding of how agricultural value chains worked, Samunnati looked for ways in which financial services along with other integrated solutions could elevate these supply chains to a higher equilibrium. Samunnati’s solutions are specifically tailored to factor in cash flow patterns, seasonality and the nature of collateral in these supply chains.

Samunnati is Elevar’s first meaningful investment focused on agriculture in India and we believe it leverages the inherent scalability of financial services business models to cater to a large, underserved segment.

Samunnati
Invested 2015

Samunnati empowers smallholder farmers and agricultural enterprises by providing access to markets through financial intermediation, market linkages and advisory services.

The estimated credit potential in India for a few top value chains in Samunnati’s portfolio is over $30 billion.

e.M CASE STUDY

Samunnati – aspiring to define the next generation of Indian agriculture

FOUNDER DETAILS

Anil Kumar, Founder and CEO, has over two decades of experience in the banking and microfinance industry and is personally passionate about agriculture. His experience developing business models catering to the low income segment in this sector is particularly relevant for this venture along with his long standing career in retail banking.

Prior to founding Samunnati, Anil was the CEO of IFMR KGFS and earlier in his career, he played a key role in managing ICICI’s agri-loan portfolio – both of which contributed significantly towards shaping his nuanced understanding of this segment.

OUR APPROACH: WHY DID WE INVEST IN SAMUNNATI?

Our understanding of the complex realities of small holding farmers has been built over several years. The idea of Samunnati was timely, as we had spent a few years trying to find an entrepreneur who was bold enough to address these realities. In Anil, we found an entrepreneur who was ambitious in terms of scale, passionate about agriculture and had several years of demonstrated execution track record.  Several external factors including early signs of FPOS (Farmer Producer Organizations – membership based collective action groups of farmers) evolving and technology adoption on the ground, helped us gain confidence about tailwinds to support this journey through the next decade or so.

Samunnati’s business aligns well with our e.M framework, and vision for companies that create and thrive on momentum.

LAhWS Proposition : The driving force behind Samunnati being a LAhWS company is their deep solution orientation, primarily towards small holder farmers. Samunnati is an organization solving for multiple challenges faced by farmers across the agri value chain, with its AMLA approach (advisory, market linkages and aggregation). For a smallholder farmer whose income is limited (resulting in low ARPU), even a loan for the entire crop cycle occupies high wallet share. Combine that with the other services Samunnati provides, and the wallet share becomes very high. When, for example, a dairy farmer chooses to pay 5-6% of her monthly income as interest fee, she embodies a LAhWS customer who is discerning in her choice of Samunnati’s solution and derives value from the transaction.

Customer Business Value: The CBV is driven up due to the solution oriented approach and the combination of multiple services provided by Samunnati to farmers. The potential for non linear growth and impact is further enhanced by the focus on FPOs.

The e.M Twin Flywheels: Through its solution approach, Samunnati enables FPOs to drive higher transaction volumes and higher incomes to downstream smallholder farmers. This, in turn, means that FPO members are further incentivized to engage with the FPO and, in turn, Samunnati itself. Thus creating a business engine that thrives on solution-oriented products and services delivered to a customer base that recognizes good value and demands high quality.

ELEVAR QUOTES

“We were in Delhi in 2014, for a board meeting and someone had told us that Anil Kumar was going entrepreneurial. So we called him up and asked him to tell us what plans he had for Samunnati. Incidentally he was going to be in Bangalore a few days later, and things kind of took off from there.”

Jyotsna Krishnan

“When Anil came to us with his investment idea, it was a branch led, agri lending model. After we invested, 6 months later, Anil came with the idea of a pivoting to an FPO focused model. He had booked a 2 hour time slot to convince us. It got done in 10 mins because we already knew the pivot was needed and were waiting for him to arrive at a similar conclusion ‘ground up’.”

Sandeep Farias

“At Elevar, our agriculture thesis is premised on an understanding that farmers are producers and not traders, and yet their livelihoods are based on their ability to trade their produce. This was intuitive to Anil.”

Vipul Rawal

ENTREPRENEUR QUOTES

“I want to empower small holder farmers. And I have a love and curiosity for agriculture. Since childhood, I have been able to recognize varieties of crops. I have grown up in rural areas and there is a natural inclination for plants and trees. Out of 28 years of work experience, 18 have been in rural areas, including my baptism into banking. There must be some destiny there.”

— Anil Kumar, Founder and CEO, Samunnati

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