We Want To Reach A Goal Of 100 Mn Users By 2025: Manish Agrawal, Co-Founder, Krishify
Our vision is to create a community and ecosystem for farmers and agricultural professionals by building a digital platform to enable connection, transactions and information exchange.
Tell us about your collaboration with AWS? How will this collaboration help you to provide a robust technology solution to the farmers? What are the core offerings or services?
To continue to offer innovative services to an increasing user base, we knew we needed robust technological support that would enable us to scale seamlessly and create new solutions rapidly without incurring high costs. For this, we used AWS’s cloud solutions.
In the past 8 months, we saw a 4x growth in users and it was possible to maintain this surge due to Amazon EKS. EKS or Elastic Kubernetes Service is a managed container service that allows companies to run and scale Kubernetes applications in the cloud or on-premises. The AWS Account and Partner teams worked closely with us to upgrade the monolithic back-end to microservices architecture on EKS. This was an important exercise for platform sustenance and to manage the spurt in user growth. The current architecture is scalable, performant, cost-effective, and fault tolerant. The transition from monolithic to microservices architecture was done seamlessly with no downtime in a span of 15 days with 50% savings in cost.
The increase in users also meant that we had to equip the platform to communicate with users in real time. We use serverless architecture services including Amazon SNS and AWS Lambda. Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS) provides a low-cost infrastructure for the mass delivery of messages, predominantly to mobile users. AWS Lambda seamlessly runs the code and precisely allocates compute execution power based on the incoming request or event, for any scale of traffic. These two solutions combined allow us to scale and send out app notifications as needed to all their users in a cost-efficient manner.
What is the role of AWS in helping Krishify scale up and meet the increasing demand, while remaining cost competitive?
As a startup, we are always cost conscious and one of the biggest benefits of using AWS was cloud cost optimization. We used Spot instances with EKS which resulted in significant cost savings over our previous monolithic architecture. The current ratio of Spot instances versus on-demand instances is 80:20, resulting in greater compute savings. Our compute spend is still constant despite the 4x user and traffic increase.
We worked with AWS to undertake a technical architecture review to lower data transfer costs by 30%. We also saved 80% - 85% of our spend on customer notifications by moving to Amazon SNS. Totally, we saved 70% costs using such serverless architecture.
Overall, AWS improved development and DevOps practices, saving 20% of man-hour efforts. In addition, AWS managed services like Amazon EKS, Amazon SageMaker, Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS), and AWS Amplify have taken away the heavy lifting in building a scalable full stack application, and reduced development efforts by 10% - 15%.
Could you please throw some light on how Krishify is using AI/ML-led offerings from AWS to offer a personalised experience, improve fraud detection, enhance computer vision, and build a better network for farmers?
As a social networking platform, we generate data based on interactions, transactions, and user behaviour. We adopt a data driven approach to leverage insights from this unstructured data to improve customer experience.
Improving fraud detection – We often face issues with users posting false or fake images of the products they are selling. For example, some users use similar fake pictures across various platforms. Human intervention can detect and weed out such fake images. However, we will implement AI models using Amazon SageMaker to detect fraud quickly with higher accuracy. We are currently tweaking the algorithms and models to deliver close to 100% accuracy.
Using computer vision to detect and identify crop diseases - Identifying crop diseases is a highly topical issue for farmers, and even a 10% error in detection or identification can present huge problems. We intend to use computer vision to enable experts to identify crop diseases and the required solutions to give the right advice to farmers.
Increased personalization – We use artificial intelligence (AI) to build recommendation models to offer highly personalised information to users, such as suggesting a better fee to an end-user based on their purchases, or curating their feed based on previous engagements, interactions, and interests.
This is done by combining data cleansing, data labelling and inference generation within the models. By using AI for personalization, we have seen a 4-5% increase in customer retention. We have a data lake and analytics environment built on AWS to derive useful business and user insights from structured and unstructured (user interactions) data. Using this data with machine learning models allows us to provide a more personalised user experience, which in turn leads to new user acquisition and higher customer retention rates.
Building a better network for farmers – We continue to provide a better network for our users through Amazon Neptune (a managed graph database) in two ways – one to identify the strength of a farmer’s network on the platform and identify similar farmer profiles for him to interact with and second, to utilise farmer contacts and upload them in a graph database which can be used later as potential customer leads. We are looking at using AWS OpenSearch, which provides a distributed search and analytics engine to create advanced search options for users to connect with their relevant network of farmers. This will allow farmers to share information as well as transact with a wider pool of audience and build an ecosystem.
Since inception, what has the journey been like for Krishify? Give us some details about your user base?
Founded in 2019, Krishify is an agri-tech networking platform for farmers, currently engaged with over 5.5 million farmers. Farmers are at the centre of our platform, and they can connect with the ecosystem of other farmers, retailers, agriculture scientists and agri-experts. The platform mainly serves two functions – information exchange and marketplace facilitation.
● Information exchange – to discuss and exchange agricultural know-how and best practices with each other. They also share issues and queries related to crop growth or disease and receive solutions from other farmers. Similarly, for example if an agricultural scientist has conducted new research, then the findings and information can be shared on the platform.
● Marketplace – Krishify also serves as a marketplace for buying and selling. This could be peer-to-peer selling, where farmers buy crops, cattle, or machinery amongst themselves. Business to farmer transactions also take place where retailers, dairy owners, and animal food sellers create shops on Krishify and connect with farmers to purchase their products.
Within two years of our inception, we have gained 1.3 million monthly active users on our platform. Currently, our platform is available in Hindi and serves users who reside in the Hindi speaking regions of the country.
What is the vision of the brand?
Our vision is to create a community and ecosystem for farmers and agricultural professionals by building a digital platform to enable connection, transactions and information exchange. Our aim is to build context driven models and content in other Indian languages as and when the user base grows
What are the agricultural problems Krishify is solving with its products and services?
India’s vast and dispersed agriculture landscape is plagued with information asymmetry, lack of awareness about advanced farming and dairy techniques, poor market linkage for crops and dairy, and limited options to buy farm input and equipment. Krishify is addressing these gaps by building a content-centric, trusted platform to facilitate communication between diverse agri-stakeholders and improve the business prospects of its customers.
Any new products and projects in the pipeline for Krishify? What are your further funding and expansion plans?
To truly become the de-facto online community for farmers and agri and dairy stakeholders, we intend to expand our footprint across the country and create a larger and more engaging online community. Serving information in local languages will improve retention and engagement on the platform. As a part of our expansion plan, we will build context driven models and content in other Indian languages as the user base in that region grows. With our strong technology and cloud infrastructure backbone built on AWS and an ambitious vision, we want to reach a goal of 100 million users by 2025.
How do you see 2022 for agri-tech startups in terms of growth and investments?
As per Bain & Co, the Agri-tech sector in India is expected to grow to USD 30-35 billion market by 2025.
Pandemic has hastened the tech adoption process in agriculture segment. New and innovative ideas like business-farmer network, Agri marketplace, etc. got automatically validated due to the need of the hour and boosted the confidence of the investors. This is reflected in the fact that In 2021 till august, agritech startups in India raised $426 million, over three times more than the same period last year. This trend is expected to continue in 2022 and more funds will flow in this segment. Agri tech startups are using AI , ML and other technologies to solve problems like low yield, low supply chain efficiency, market rate prediction among other use cases. Use of new technologies in this segment is further attracting investors to this field.
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