Indonesian smart farming startup Beleaf announced Monday its recently closed Seed funding of $2 million led by Alpha JWC Ventures, with participation from BRI Ventures’ Sembrani Nusantara, MDI-Finch Capital’s Arise, and several prominent angel

Beleaf said in a statement with this fresh Seed funding, the firm will focus on improving its technology, building a robust team, and doubling down on its resources, including opening more research and development (R&D) farms and building more farming communities in West Java.

Besides its farming as a service side, the firm is also expanding its inhouse brand by adding a new mass-market brand, Seikat, to its existing premium one (under the same brand name “Beleaf”), and adding more varieties to its lineup.

Founded in 2019 by Amrit Lakhiani, Beleaf is a smart farming company that aims to use its agricultural expertise and technology to improve the yields and productivity of local farmers and ultimately, improve the livelihoods of farmers across Indonesia.

The company started as a premium hydroponic brand offering multiple varieties of vegetables and fruits, ranging from leafy greens to melons.

With the learnings and experience from managing their own farms, this year Beleaf started to expand its product to technology-enabled farm management.

Powered by big data and internet of thing (IoT) to enable localized precision farming, Beleaf currently focuses on three main features: control, automation, and management.

The platform monitors seeding, temperature, nutrients, positioning, airflow, humidity, irrigation, and packaging within a farm.

All data gathered from these processes will then power its machine learning for both the farm and Beleaf’s continuous improvement as well as research and development of future solutions.

“What we call ‘Beleaf Operating System (OS)’ is a platform that connects IoT devices, data collection, monitoring, logistics, scheduling and forecasting. The primary objective of the OS is to improve the operations of a farm,” said Beleaf Founder and Chief Executive Officer Amrit Lakhiani.

“Once our partner farms use Beleaf OS, they will see increases in consistency, productivity and quality of harvest. In addition, they will use less resources, thus promoting higher profits and environmental sustainability.

Beleaf aims to offer end-to-end services as a complete ‘Farming as a Service’ product: touching operations, distribution, and offtaking – connecting farms, distributors, and retailers in one integrated ecosystem.

This ‘farming as a service’ model is hoped to answer Indonesia’s challenges where despite being an agricultural country, its potential remains unoptimized and its agricultural import remains high.

Based on National Statistics Agency’s data, Indonesian fruits and vegetables’ market size is currently $33 billion, with the opportunity to grow to $56 billion by 2026.

On the other hand, farming costs are expected to increase due to increasing cost of inputs, poor technology adoption, reduction in the farming workforce, and inefficient logistics due to fragmentation.

Beleaf strives to address these challenges by improving farming workforce productivity, reducing infrastructure costs through scalability, and eventually reducing farming costs, which will sustain competitive prices for local vegetables
and fruits.

“We’re a firm believer of starting from what we know best. We have achieved proof-of-concept in our own farms, and this year, we managed to scale our model,

“We’re ready to accelerate our growth and pilot our geographic expansion. We have started with vegetables and fruits, and will explore other plant groups for which we can replicate this model,” said Amrit.

Beleaf currently works with 14 farms in West Java spanning over 80 hectares and producing over 70 tons of fresh product per month.

Its inhouse brand is supplying 15 supermarkets with 110 outlets, eight ecommerce platforms, and 10+ restaurants outlets.

“Ultimately, with our experience and technology we seek to improve the productivity, quality and livelihood of farmers all over Indonesia. Our dream is to reduce Indonesia’s dependency on imported fruits and vegetables and bring Indonesia’s produce to a global standard,” Amrit said.

Alpha JWC Ventures Partner Eko Kurniadi said these past three years, Beleaf has proven its strong consistent performance, from harvest quality, operating efficiency to farm unit economics.

“They are now in a unique position to expand their technology footprint through their Beleaf OS and become a major player in the alternative farming scene in Indonesia,” he added.

BRI Ventures Chief Investment Officer Markus Rahardja hopes that this investment could help encourage and accelerate Indonesia’s agri-tech industry and contribute in solving Indonesia’s demand for a healthier and sustainable farming industry.

“This investment also emphasizes BRI Ventures’ stance as a venture capital that values startups who are not only financially healthy but also environmentally friendly and sustainable,” he added.

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