Ricult secures US$2M pre-Series A to help farmers increase yield, access online markets in Thailand
Ricult, a Thailand-based startup providing Artificial Intelligence-powered farming solutions, has raised US$2 million in a pre-Series A round of funding, says a report by Nikkei Asian Review.
The round was co-led by Bualuang Ventures, the venture arm of Bangkok Bank, and Krungsri Finnovate, the VC unit of Bank of Ayudhya.
With this deal, Ricult’s total funding raised in the seed round has touched US$5 million.
The agritech startup plans to use the funding for product development and to widen its presence in the domestic market, as well as expand into neighbouring countries such as Laos, Vietnam, and Indonesia.
Founded in 2015 by Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s alumnus, Ricult combines its “in-depth” expertise in weather analysis with satellite technology to develop a platform to help farmers and agribusinesses manage their farms more effectively.
This helps farmers increase yield from their cultivation, access online markets to sell their agricultural products, and offer a chat line with agriculture experts.
Its mission is not limited only to helping agriculturists, but also to benefit entrepreneurs throughout the agricultural supply chain, including banks.
Banks can consider the information in an approval process for loans to farmers and agricultural businesses, agricultural products insurance, or life insurance businesses. Merchants selling agricultural products can reach agriculturists on the platform through data solutions services.
The firm claims currently it has information of 200,000 Thai farmers and 100,000 global farmers on its platform, with the number of local farmers expected to reach one million and those worldwide to reach four million in the next three years.
Its next plan is to create business models which can scale up and expand into neighbouring countries such as Laos, Vietnam, and Indonesia.
In a recent Techsauce article, Co-founder and CEO Aukrit Unahalekhaka, said in addition to business, Ricult wants to create a platform that can leverage technology to help people in society, especially farmers who are the backbone of Thailand.
“Often, many farmers are still using natural farming where it is impossible to assess productivity or various environmental factors. However, with the detailed and in-depth expertise of Ricult, farmers will be able to assess risks more accurately as it can forecast up to nine months in advance. In addition, data is analysed via satellite images on a single platform that provides product price information and chat service about cultivation with experts which will help develop the country’s agricultural knowledge as a whole,” he added in the interview.
Previously, Ricult has secured seed funding from angel investors and venture capital companies, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Dtac Accelerate, Chanwanich Group, Wavemaker, and 500 TukTuks.
Ricult expects to raise additional funds in 2021.