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MBA Grad Grows Veggies Hydroponically, Targets ₹1 Cr Revenue in FY25

Pritpal Singh is the founder of Farmcult, an Agritech startup based in Chandigarh that grows chemical-free nutritious food through hydroponics.

By Bilal Khan
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Farmcult Founder - Pritpal Singh

Farmcult Founder - Pritpal Singh

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Leaving a lucrative corporate job for Farming is not easy. However, Chandigarh-based entrepreneur Pritpal Singh did just that to connect with his roots and address agricultural issues.

After completing his MBA in marketing from IMT Nagpur, he began his career at HDFC Ergo, where he worked for 1.5 years. Subsequently, he served as Territory Sales Manager at ICICI Lombard for 2 years, earning a decent salary. 

During his early childhood, Pritpal visited his grandfather's farm, where he developed a deep-rooted love for Farming. He spent time roaming the fields with his grandfather, observing and learning from him. 

In an exclusive conversation with Startup Pedia, Pritpal recollected, "Farming has always been in my blood. The scent of fresh soil and the sight of green fields brings back fond memories."  

Despite his father being a professor, he also dedicated time to Farming, continuing the family tradition that had been ongoing for over 50 years. This strong farming lineage influenced Pritpal, inspiring him to carry forward the family legacy.

Hence, in 2021, the Chandigarh entrepreneur launched his agri startup, Farmcult. 

What is Farmcult?

Farmcult is an innovative startup specializing in protected cultivation, particularly hydroponics, also known as soilless Farming. Over the past three years, the Chandigarh-based agri-startup has conducted extensive R&D on various protected cultivation structures and hydroponic techniques to tailor these methods to the diverse topography and climate of India.

Farmcult Farm

Given the early stage of hydroponics in India and its varied conditions, they recognize that not all structures or techniques are suitable for every location. After years of research, the startup has developed two models to offer its clients:

Setup and Support Model: They offer comprehensive support for clients with land and capital who want to enter the hydroponics business. They assist with farm setup, provide agronomy support, and offer consultancy and guidance for the first six months to a year until the client is proficient with the growing techniques. Additionally, they provide market linkages to ensure successful sales.

End-to-End Management Model: For clients with land and capital but without the time to manage the operations, the Chandigarh agri startup offers a full-service solution. They handle everything from farm setup to daily operations, including agronomy support, harvesting, marketing, and sales. This model is designed to create passive income for the client through a revenue-sharing arrangement.

Educational Outreach and Advocacy: Farmcult educates the community about the benefits of hydroponic Farming, including its sustainability, water efficiency, and chemical-free produce. The agri-tech startup conducts workshops and training sessions for aspiring farmers, entrepreneurs, and students to promote hydroponic Farming and share knowledge about best practices and techniques.

Farmcult Workshop: Farmcult offers a comprehensive workshop model to educate individuals and organizations about protected cultivation and hydroponics. The workshops are designed to provide hands-on experience and in-depth knowledge of soilless farming techniques, making it accessible and feasible for implementation in varied climatic and topographical conditions across India. The workshop is conducted both online and offline. 

What is Hydroponics?

Hydroponics is a method of growing plants using water as the primary medium instead of soil. The term "hydroponics" combines "hydro," meaning water, and "ponics," meaning a system. Essentially, any system that grows plants in water without soil is considered hydroponics. 

Farmcult Farm

0-1 Journey of Farmcult: 

From 2013 to 2016, while maintaining a full-time job, Pritpal was involved in Farming. In 2016, he transitioned from his full-time job to focus on cultivating exotic fresh flowers within a greenhouse setting, investing Rs. 50 lakh per acre. Over the initial two years of this venture, from 2016 to 2018, he concentrated on nurturing these unique blooms.

However, during this period, it became apparent to him that the market was experiencing a surge in artificial flower availability, leading to a decline in demand for fresh flowers.

"Consequently, my revenue and profits suffered due to this diminishing demand, compounded by the challenging climatic conditions in the northern regions of our country, such as Punjab, Haryana, and UP, which were less than ideal for the species of flowers I was cultivating," said the Chandigarh-based agri-startup founder during a conversation with Startup Pedia.

Pritpal Singh - Founder at Farmcult

Recognizing the unsustainability of this trajectory, he explored alternative avenues, eventually pivoting towards cultivating seedless cucumbers and other vegetables after consulting with experts in protected cultivation methods. This strategic shift proved transformative, tripling his returns and profits from his previous endeavours with exotic flowers.

Concurrently, he delved into the study of hydroponics, a practice closely related to protected cultivation, eventually leading him to fully embrace hydroponics within the protected cultivation domain by 2021

Initially, he sold his crops in Chandigarh's open markets and vegetable markets. However, as he ventured into hydroponics, he discovered a niche market of wholesale buyers interested in hydroponically grown produce, which was relatively novel in his area then.

Financial Growth of Farmcult: 

From 2016 to 2018, Farmcult's profits were limited to approximately Rs. 6 to 7 lakhs per acre per year. Subsequently, from 2018 to roughly 2020, the Chandigarh agri-startup revenue ranged between Rs. 10 to 12 lakhs annually.

However, since transitioning to hydroponics, cumulative profits have significantly increased. With various structures and crops like cucumbers, bell peppers, and leafy vegetables in cultivation, total annual profits now stand at approximately Rs. 30 to 35 lakhs.

Future Plan of Farmcult: 

In the past few months, particularly the last two, Chandigarh-based agri-startup has experienced significant interest in consulting services for turnkey projects. It has been an enlightening experience, highlighting substantial demand within this sector. Looking ahead, the primary focus for the next two years will revolve around turnkey projects and consulting, specifically in the realm of hydroponic Farming.

"Our services will encompass not only the setup and development of farms but also include essential market connections for the cultivated crops," said Pritpal during a conversation with Startup Pedia.

The immediate goal of Farmcult is to expand our services nationwide within the next six months, transitioning from a regional to a pan-India presence. Regarding financial targets, the agri-startup aims to surpass a turnover of Rs. 1 crore by the end of this fiscal year.


What is Farmcult? 
Farmcult is a Chandigarh-based agri startup founded by Pritpal Singh in 2021. It specializes in hydroponics, a method of growing plants without soil, focusing on sustainable and chemical-free cultivation methods.
What is hydroponics?
Hydroponics is a farming technique where plants are grown in water-based nutrient solutions instead of soil. This method conserves water, produces higher yields, and reduces the need for pesticides, making it a sustainable alternative to traditional Farming.
What services does Farmcult offer?
- Setup and Support Model: For clients with land and capital, Farmcult provides comprehensive support for entering hydroponics, including farm setup, agronomy support, and market linkages. - End-to-End Management Model: For clients with land and capital but lacking time for day-to-day operations, Farmcult offers full-service solutions from setup to harvest, including marketing and sales.
What has been the revenue of Farmcult?    
Initially focusing on exotic flowers, Farmcult pivoted to hydroponics in 2021. Since then, their profits have significantly increased, with annual revenues now ranging between Rs. 30 to 35 lakhs, aiming to surpass Rs. 1 crore in the near future.
What are Farmcult's future plans?
Farmcult plans to expand nationally within six months, focusing on turnkey hydroponic farming projects and consulting services. They aim to strengthen market connections and exceed a turnover of Rs. 1 crore by the end of the fiscal year.