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Agri-tech startup FrontalRain raises Rs 5Cr from Omnivore Capital

Bangalore-based agri-tech business, Frontal Rain Technologies, has secured Rs 5Cr from Godrej-Agrovet-backedOmnivore Capital, an early-stage VC fund.

FrontalRain will use the funds to expand its business pan-India and globally as well as to add micro vertical specific features to its products in order to address commodity-specific challenges.

Incorporated in November 2010, FrontalRain provides Rain , a group of food supply chain software on Cloud that can address specific needs of agribusinesses, food processing plants, cold chains, warehousing companies, distributors, retailers, commodity traders and professional agri service providers. The product portfolio comprises Rain Grow, Rain Make, Rain Move, Rain Trade and Rain Serve.

The company claimed that Rain technology brings together the benefits of integrated business processes of an enterprise application and combines this with collaboration, e-commerce, social networking and mobile capabilities to enable customers to interact with suppliers and customers. This technology is used by companies dealing with commodities like spices, herbs, Basmati Rice, seeds, animal feed, sea food, dairy and edible oil.

"Within 18 months of the beginning, Rain achieved phenomenal success. We have not spent even a pie in marketing till now. So, we will use the funds to make people in India aware about our offerings," FrontalRain's founder online casino and MD Jayaram Srinivasan told VCCircle.

"Our idea is to use social network capabilities in the area of business software to enable collaboration in supply chain networks. It would eventually result in a Facebook, Google of food and agri business," he added.

Srinivasan also noted that FrontalRain will bring down the prices of its offerings to gain more customers.

FrontalRain counts companies such as SAIFCO Group, Phalada Agro Research Foundation, Growl Feeds, Triton Consultants etc among its key clients. Some of them use Rain to manage their operations in remote locations, using cloud based information technology solutions.

India has a complex agri supply chain, which consist of 600 million farmers, 1,200 million consumers and five million traders, according to a company statement. Information asymmetry between the farm gate and the point of consumption increases the prices approximately by four times and even higher in some perishable commodities. The foreign companies coming to India will have to depend on IT companies for cloud based application to manage distributed systems, surveillance tools, display technologies and location-based services.

Lack of technology-based intervention in food and agribusiness leading to low productivity and severe post harvest losses have been discussed in various forums, but very little has been done till now.

While vertically integrated players can benefit by implementing the complete suite, smaller agribusiness players can benefit by deploying parts of Rain solution.

Set up by three senior executives from SAP with over 50 years of combined business and product development expertise in the enterprise software business, Omnivore Capital is a venture fund investing in agricultural technology startups in India. The company has also picked up a 26 per cent stake in Rajkot-based Khedut Agro Engineering for an undisclosed amount.

In last August, Omnivore bought 33 per cent stake in Skymet, India's first weather forecasting company.

(Edited by Prem Udayabhanu)

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