INNOVATOR SPOTLIGHT: SATSURE
Updated: Jan 31, 2019
SatSure is a large area analytics company based in Bangalore, London and St. Gallen. At SatSure we leverage advances in satellites, machine learning, and big data analytics to provide answers to large area questions across multiple domains.
The company was founded in late 2015. The founders of the company are a group of young energetic space engineers who worked at ISRO. The founders felt that there was an opportunity for building a company that focussed solely on bringing the benefit of space technology to farmers in India and the developing world. The focus of the company has been to use space technology to address issues of financial inclusion and food security.
SatSure has focussed on the problem of illuminating risk in Indian Agriculture primarily focussing on the Indian Agri Insurance and Agri-Banking sectors.
For agriculture to succeed, farmers need access to finance for buying agricultural inputs like seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, etc. They need insurance protection when crops fail and they should be able to get good prices for their produce. In India, over 100 million farmers do not have access to institutional finance and approximately 25% of farmers have insurance. This lack of access to finance and insurance is due to the lack of data on risk management.
Our coverage for clients in these sectors has grown over the years. During the Kharif 2017 season, we covered a single district, in Rabi 2017 that grew to 12 districts, in Kharif 2018 our coverage was 72 districts and in the current Rabi season we are covering over 90 districts. We expect to cover over 120 districts in the upcoming Kharif season.
We are leveraging satellites can very quickly easily provide answers to critically important questions in agriculture across these districts:
What crop is growing
Where it is growing
How much is growing
When did planting occur
How well is the crop growing?
What will be the yield of the crop
Impact of weather and the relative performance of the crops across the district/state
The advance estimate of the production of the crop a month before actual harvest
What is the level of irrigation/water stress in the crop
How is harvest progressing
As historical satellite data is available for many prior seasons and sometimes goes as far back as a few decades, comparison of agriculture output across seasons can be easily done. This enables risk profiling of farms. We layer satellite data with weather data, economic data and other datasets to build the risk profiles.
Our customers range from State Governments to Insurers, Re-Insurers, Banks, Agri Input Companies, Food Processing Companies, Commodity Traders, and Aid Agencies. Some of our problems we have helped our clients within the past one year have been:
Settling a crop insurance dispute under PMFBY between an insurance company and a state government.
Working with MNCFC in optimizing and reducing the number of CCEs by over 60% for enabling efficient administration of PMFBY.
Using our risk profiling methodology for agri-banking, we helped a banking customer increase its book size by 2% and achieve a reduction of 1.5% in nonperforming assets during a single season
Helped Govt of Andhra Pradesh quickly assess crop damage after cyclones Titli and Phethai.
Leveraging satellite data for enabling monitoring and management of farms as small as half an acre.
Amongst all of our achievements in 2018, we are most proud of our ability to rise to the occasion and respond to the call of help for the Govt of Kerala in leveraging satellite data for helping over 15000 rescues during the devastating floods that hit the state.
SatSure has been winning awards for its Agri Tech products. SatSure was recently declared a winner of Ministry of Agriculture’s Agriculture Grand Challenge for using satellites for yield estimation. SatSure was a Top 3 award winner at the Global AgTech Pitch organized by the Government of AP and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Vizag in Nov 2017.
Within the world of satellites, SatSure is the first Indian company to receive an honorable mention at the Better Satellite World Awards from Space & Satellite Professionals International, UK. We were given a ‘Ones 2 Watch’ award at the recently concluded Data. Space conference in Glasgow.
In 2019, while we continue to work with and expand our insurance and banking coverage, we expect to work more closely with our customers in agri-input and trading sectors on problems pertaining to forecasting demand for inputs like fertilizers, herbicides, etc, farm management and production estimates. We believe our connections with Agri Corporates on the ThinkAg platform will be an important channel for enabling us to achieve our goals.
2019 has started with the welcome news of a number of funding deals announced in the Indian AgriTech sector. These deals are a much-needed boost for this sector as Indian AgriTech Entrepreneurs / Startups face a number of challenges i.e. headwinds which make AgriTech a challenging and sometimes a demoralizing space to operate in.
The life of all Startups is characterized by limited resources, money and time. Startups try to maximize what they can achieve given the limited resources, money and time they have. Non-productive use of the Startup’s resources, money and time can have a longer-lasting, even an existential impact on the Startup compared established companies.
The challenges faced by AgriTech StartUps fall on the intersection of money, time and resource.
A curated platform like ThinkAg is a crucial enabler for AgriTech innovators in overcoming the challenges they encounter namely:
Access to working capital
Low paying capacity of Indian farmers for acquiring new technology
Lack of collective procurement mechanisms for the farming sector
Access to data
Limited exposure to exposure to advances in AgriTech in other parts of the world
Lack of access to Agriculture Experts
Since our presentation during the launch of ThinkAg, the platform has already helped us, SatSure, connect with major Agri Corporates. We are in extended pilot discussions with a couple of the corporates who were introduced to us during the event.
Amardeep is responsible for overall company strategy, direction and growth. He has over 24 years of professional experience. Previously, Amardeep was CTO at Earth2Orbit and a Vice President at Goldman Sachs, where he served for 17 years across US, UK and India. Amardeep is an alumnus of Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIMB) and he holds a Bachelor of Technology with Honours from Thapar University, Patiala. He is a member of CII’s National Committee for IT and NASSCOM’s Core Group for AgriTech. He is also a guest faculty at IIM, Bangalore where he teaches analytics.