Over 40% of Indonesians have low-paid agricultural jobs.
Indonesia has 16 million hectares of underutilized farmland but continues to import essentials like rice.
Most of the arable land exist in remote areas where farmers lack access to capital.
iGrow targets higher income consumers who wish to invest in the organic farming business through a reliable profit-sharing network of farmers, landowners and buyers.
iGrow identifies crops, with stable demand prices and growing characteristics, to attract urban investors to raise capital for the seeds to be grown by the specialist crop farmers on plots of leased arable land available in its data bank.
Potential investors can choose from various types of crops with different cycles and returns on investment. After the investors get their return on investment, they will continue to receive a 40% profit share, with the remaining 60% to be used for the continued farming maintenance of the crops and to pay for iGrow’s management fees during the life cycles of the plants.
In addition, iGrow’s cloud-based agricultural management system enables investors to enjoy a real-life “Farmville” experience. They can track the progress of their crops and harvests, similar to the virtual farming simulation social network game created by Zynga in 2009.
The crops are selected based on their high demand and stable market prices:
With each crop investment, the investor will receive a certificate of ownership tree (COT), with detailed information about the tree including its location, number and manager. However, fast or even regular returns are not guaranteed due to the unpredictable nature of farming.
iGrow is also a social enterprise which promotes environmental conservation to potential philanthropic investors who may donate their profit or trees to research centers, schools, hospitals or charities. More government aid is needed to help underemployed rural farmers to increase Indonesia’s food self-sufficiency for basic crops including rice, soya beans and corn.
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Early, launched iGrow, a crowdfunding agribusiness platform in Indonesia.
November, won Tech in Asia’s Startup Arena and received US$10,000.
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December, received US$125,000 seed funding from 500 Startups.
October, iGrow had 30 staff and 1,000 farmers with investors on waitlist due to lack of farmers signing up.
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June, raised seed funding from East Ventures and 500 Startups.
November, selected for the third batch of Google Launchpad to receive equity-free funding and training.
According to iGrow, Indonesia has 11 million hectares of underutilized land with a potential food agro market size of US$130 billion. Current data indicate that iGrow has over 4,820 investors with over 2,000 farmers cultivating about 1,200 hectares of land in Indonesia.
In fact, within the first 19 months of operations, iGrow’s gross market value has grown by 194% month-on-month in the last 3 months. Over 1,214 hectares have been farmed across Indonesia, with another 9,712 hectares in the pipeline.
iGrow also stated that it was already profitable since its harvest of 16,000 tons of peanuts which brought 24% annual returns to its investors, 99% of which have become repeat investors.
iGrow co-founder and CEO Andreas Senjaya said that the startup has already allocated US$1.4 million for planting in the Buleleng, Blitar, Garut, Jonggol, and Banten regions. The long- term goals are to boost the incomes of underemployed local farmers and to make Indonesia become more food self-sufficient in the near future.
The agribusiness crowdfunding platform will eventually expand to include olive farming in Turkey and also possibly to farming in Japan over the next few years.