By Catherine Shu
TaniHub Group, an Indonesian startup that helps farmers get better prices and more customers for their crops, has raised a $65.5 million Series B. The funding was led by MDI Ventures, the investment arm of Telkom Group, one of Indonesia’s largest telecoms, with participation from Add Ventures, BRI Ventures, Flourish Ventures, Intudo Ventures, Openspace Ventures, Tenaya Capital, UOB Venture Management, Vertex Ventures and Telkomsel Mitra Inovasi (TMI).
Openspace and Intudo are returning investors from TaniHub’s $10 million Series A, announced in May 2019. The new funding brings its total raised to about $94 million.
Founded in 2016, TaniHub now has more than 45,000 farmers and 350,000 buyers (including businesses and consumers) in its network. The company helps farmers earn more for their crops by streamlining distribution channels so there are less middlemen between farms and the restaurants, grocery stores, vendors and other businesses that buy their products. It does this through three units: TaniHub, TaniSupply and TaniFund.
TaniHub is its B2B e-commerce platform, which connects farmers directly to customers. Then orders are fulfilled through TaniSupply, the company’s logistics platform, which currently operates six warehousing and processing facilities where harvests can be washed, sorted and packed within an hour, before being delivered to buyers by TaniHub’s own couriers or third-party logistics providers.
Finally, TaniFund is a fintech platform that provides loans to farmers they can use while growing crops and pay off by selling through TaniHub. Co-founder and chief executive officer Eka Pamitra told TechCrunch its credit scoring system is based on three years of performance, the company’s agriculture value chain expertise and partnerships with financial institutions.
“More than 100 data points are considered when doing the credit risk assessment. For example, for cultivation financing products, TaniFund tailors each credit scoring based on agriculture risks and market risk of each commodity, on top of the typical borrower E-KYC scoring and process,” he explained. “Beyond credit scoring, having TaniSupply and TaniHub as a standby buyer within the ecosystem also helps to mitigate risk of each loan. TaniFund aims to further boost its credit scoring system with smarter data processing and better machine learning models.”
Pamitra said TaniHub will use its new funding to build the upstream and midstream parts of its supply chain—in other words, new cultivation areas, processing, packing centers and warehouses. The company will also expand its coverage beyond Java and Bali to source and sell locally, and continue improving its supply-demand forecast model to help farmers plans crop cultivation and timing, with the goal of reducing price fluctuations and maintaining a consistent supply. Pamitra added that TaniHub will also explore precision farming technology.
Over the last couple of years, TaniHub has started exporting several types of fruits and spices to the United Arab Emirates, Singapore and South Korea. This year, it plans to focus on expanding within Indonesia because the F&B (food and beverage) market there is worth $137 billion and the Indonesian agriculture sector is still highly fragmented, Pamitra said.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, TaniHub says it was able to grow its revenue 600% year-on-year in 2020 as demand for online groceries increased.
“We postponed our branch expansion plan and focused on increasing the seven existing warehouses’ since there was a surge of demand on the B2C segment and the process of onboarding farmers. This benefited us since the adoption of purchasing fresh groceries online increased significantly, and the willingness of farmers to work with us became remarkably high because the local traditional markets were closed due to lockdowns,” Pamitra said. “Since COVID-19, the eagerness of provincial governments to open communications for TaniHub to work with local farmers and SMEs in their region has been quite impactful.”
TaniHub is now working with several Indonesian government agencies, including the Ministry of Trade, Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Cooperatives and SMEs, to onboard more farmers, F&B businesses and increase exports.
In a press statement, MDI Ventures director of portfolio management Sandhy Widyasthana said, “TaniHub Group has an important role in transforming the agriculture sector and has proven that its presence can deliver positive impact on the quality of life of farmers. We hope our investment can help them continue their work and expand their coverage to more and more farming communities in Indonesia.”