Ashish Rajan Singh
Co-Founder & CTO
When it comes to agricultural technologies, its base leans more towards on-job experience than schooled knowledge, as there are a lot of challenges that only appear when you are on the field. Having leveraged the opportunity to experience the challenges of farmers right from the field, Ashish Rajan Singh, interlinks the latest technologies and makes them talk to farmers in a way that they understand, through his agritech venture Gramophone (by Agstack Technologies Pvt. Ltd). Under the aegis of Ashish, Gramophone today aces the delivery of timely information, technology and suitable inputs to help farmers achieve better yield. From his career-starting point at Mindtree Ltd, to Gramophone, he has come a long way, growing into a commander of the domain. Ashish has been successful in handpicking a workforce that works with cutting edge technologies to pave the way for a complete technological makeover in agriculture. CIO Insider unfolds his journey.
In conversation with Ashish Rajan Singh, Co-Founder & CTO, Agstack Technologies
What inspired you to become a leader in the Agritech domain?
Right now, agritech is one domain where technology is yet to be extensively used, compared to a wide range of other domains, you name it. This provoked me in a sense, where I felt the urge to merge new-age technologies to enhance farming and improve yield. I believe that applying these technologies
the right way can help solve existing and arising challenges in this domain.
What can you tell us about Gramophone? How would you describe your team’s passion and inspiration?
At Gramophone, we strive to make a difference in farming by offering timely information, advice and suitable inputs to achieve better yields for farmers. Essentially, the platform is a one-stop shop that also provides crop safety, crop seeds, crop nutrition, agri-hardware and weather information coupled with the best products to enhance farming. We believe that technology can remove information asymmetry in the agriculture system.
At Gramophone, we strive to make a difference in farming by offering timely information, advice and suitable inputs to achieve better yields for farmers
In terms of the technical infrastructure built into mobile & web applications, it facilitates knowledge exchange in a way that is simple to understand and pass through the business and the agricultural supply chain. The platform constitutes an ecosystem of farmers and an expert workforce who works with them to improve yield. on its growth. Since the scope of technology usage is wide, each one of the work-force makes contributions of their own, thanks to their passion.
How do you make use of the advantage of futuristic technologies?
We are using many high-demand technologies such as big data and machine learning. We use intense data based management and have designed a ML-based module that helps us control internal inventory across various locations and prevents workload pile-up. In terms of moving solutions closer to farmers, we're attempting to develop a self-help technology that enables farmers to solve problems on their own
using our Gramophone app.
How has your journey been so far? What are the milestones that bestowed utmost satisfaction as an individual as well as a technology leader?
Over the years, I have worked in technology development across various domains, which gave me a good perspective about the kind of requirements needed to build a company. Throughout my career, I have understood the value of going in depth, as well as the importance of converging and merging different aspects to solve a problem. For instance, while trying to solve problems of farmers, it’s not just about giving them the best product, but also about providing support in terms of usage know-how, availability and information throughout the cycle.
Over the last 13 years of my career, I've done extensive travelling around the United States, Europe, and Southeast Asia, and I've seen a lot of different firms, MNCs, and MSCs, where all of that exposure is coming in handy for me now. I believe that the biggest difference in working in a start-up versus a large organization is that when you work in a start-up, you get to see the whole picture from the very beginning. I believe that in farming, there are a lot of tasks that can be accomplished much quicker, and our journey is on course to enabling it.
In the light of your strong experience in the technology industry, what advice would you give to the budding entrepreneurs in the AgriTech domain?
The agritech industry is still in its infancy, and I think it will last a long time because there are so many opportunities. It will take decades to fix the majority of the challenges, if not all of them, thus it is never too late to begin. My recommendation is to try to get first-hand on-field experience with the is-sues of farmers by investing time in farming and farmers, before venturing into the industry. Because the challenge in this domain will look very different when you see them from afar. Hence, attempting to develop products and ideas before actually stepping foot on ground, may neither appear beneficial nor be sustainable.