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The Silicon Review Asia

A Company Focused On Enabling Financial Inclusion in Agriculture In An Era of Climate Change: SatSure

The Silicon Review
December, 2019

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Throughout history Earth’s climate has changed significantly, but the modern warming trend is abnormal because it is the result of human activity. Earth-orbiting satellites and other technological advances have enabled scientists to see the big picture, collecting many different types of information about our planet and its climate on a global scale. This body of data, collected over many years, reveals the signals of a changing climate.

The combination of advancing climate change and an already-vulnerable industrial system is a “perfect storm” that threatens farmers’ livelihoods and our food supply. The good news is that there are tools in the form of science-based farming practices that can buffer farmers from climate damage and help make their operations more resilient and sustainable for the long term. SatSure is a decision intelligence solutions company based in India, which leverages advances in satellite remote sensing, machine learning and big data analytics to provide answers to large area questions in the areas of agriculture, infrastructure, and Climate Action. SatSure has built a technology platform, with products designed at the intersection of the sustainability nexus of food, water, and energy security for the other 3 billion. As the effects of climate change become more prominent with frequent droughts and natural catastrophes, investment in agriculture, infrastructure, energy and associated technologies has to be complemented with investments in the associated financial services and policy making approach that support development of these areas through improved credit flows, risk mitigation strategies and capacity building to handle new technologies.

Advent of SatSure

SatSure’s founding team comprises of four friends with background in space technology and entrepreneurship. Myself and Abhishek Raju built the initial idea of SatSure and were joined by Ishan Tomar and Rashmit Singh Sukhmani as co-founders. Having built their careers at esteemed Indian Space Research Organization, the consensus was that technology capability exists to address structural problems of the society, but it was the business model for which there was no precedent. Almost 9 months were spent by me and Abhishek to gather the pain points of all the stakeholders - farmers, bureaucrats, bankers, insurers, machinery companies, and multilateral agencies, to understand the gaps to be addressed by using the technical expertise which the founding team possessed. Waiting for hours to meet politicians and administrators for a few minutes to understand the policy and administration pain points, traveling to rural areas for interacting with farmers and cooperatives, listening to executives in the high-rise offices of Mumbai about how they tackle the inefficiencies, SatSure’s founders did it all to create good design-to-fit products and build an organization that can create impact at scale that trickles down to the bottom of the pyramid.

Vision and Growth

A remarkable vision of SatSure is to enable financial inclusion in developing countries using advanced space technology. Hence, SatSure’s focus is to work with organizations like Banks, MFIs, Insurance Companies, and Government organizations to help them run their operations and provide services to the remotest part of the country, effectively and efficiently. However, the transition for clients from initially being unaware of satellites and remote sensing to using the data insights today to drive their operations and key decisions took time. It required educating the clients and the industry about the science behind our technology. SatSure themselves were being continuously educated about the complexity of operations across industries. There are still a few more years for the industry to mature due to human resource and technology constraints. By looking back at their journey, SatSure can undoubtedly claim that it has been fruitful with more positives than negatives, and this wouldn’t have been possible without the continuous support of a few key customers, institutions and people who believed in the technology and the capability of SatSure to deliver, irrespective of being a startup. The mutual exchange of knowledge has been an essential part of SatSure’s growth, and the company tries to follow the same philosophy for every new industry they enter, knowledge exchange helps SatSure build robust products.

Impact and future

SatSure disrupted the agriculture banking data analytics market by bringing highly accurate and timely assessments made by analyzing alternate datasets such as satellite imagery and weather. However, there were no similar products in the market then, and thereby SatSure adopted a ‘customer-centric’ iterative product development, which required regular feedback from the industry to be able to build products in an agile manner. The same culture is followed internally as well, with feedback from everyone playing a pivotal role in shaping the products, business, and SatSure’s growth. SatSure has been continuously evolving its products and solutions to stay abreast with the industry requirements. SatSure doesn’t want to be too ahead of the curve, nor fall behind in its innovation quotient. SatSure’s banking product has matured and has users across banks and NBFCs globally. Disaster insurance solutions were initially built for a minimal use case, which found direct application in the 2018’s Kerala floods, which helped the state Government plan evacuations saving many lives. This has been one of the proudest moments for the company. In the coming month, SatSure will be releasing the end-to-end insurance product for agriculture and property and infrastructure. The solution is built, keeping in mind the requirements of insurers and re-insurers in the times of unpredictable weather events. This new launch will be another critical milestone product for the company in the area of infrastructure, diversifying the portfolio in this vertical from the current construction change detection product.

Prateep Basu Co-founder & CEO (India) of SatSure

Prateep Basu has extensive experience of 8 years working in the space industry across US, Europe and India. Prateep started his career at Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) as a scientist involved in project management for launch station. Post ISRO, Prateep completed his Master of Science in Space Technology and worked as a consultant at Northern Sky Research for 3 years before starting up SatSure, along with Abhishek Raju, Ishan Tomar, and Rashmit Singh Sukhmani.

"SatSure leverages advances in satellite remote sensing, machine learning and big data analytics to provide answers to large area questions across multiple domains.”

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