Indian agritech’s breakout year

Last year was an inflection point for agritech companies, with investments in the sector nearly tripling. Here’s a primer.

Thirukumaran Nagarajan, like most middle-class millennials, only knew one way to rise in life. Study hard, secure a well-paying job, live a comfortable life. Simple enough.

He did a bachelor’s in electrical engineering, worked for a bit, and then enrolled at the Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode—and even then, all he wanted really was a secure job. India’s startup story was just beginning, and Flipkart was emerging as the poster child, expanding, hiring sharp minds, making the right bets. It was also one of the most sought-after employers among B-school graduates at the time.

Nagarajan applied for a position at Flipkart in 2010 but didn’t land the job.

But almost a decade and five failed ventures later—including a CFO coaching centre, a cloud kitchen of sorts and a location-based social network app—he found Flipkart knocking at his door. Last month, the e-commerce company and its US-based parent, Walmart, invested an undisclosed amount in supply chain startup Ninjacart, which Nagarajan co-founded in 2015.

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