As the startup culture is rapidly gaining momentum in the Indian society, agriculture – which is one of the most traditional business sectors in India – has suddenly become the apple of the eye for the investor fraternity. Thanks to the wave of innovation the Indian startups are eventually bringing in the agritech space with a fusion of new age techs like AI, ML and Big Data. One such startup which recently gained attention is Carmel Organics. Based out of Neemuch, Madhya Pradesh, the startup has boarded the agritech portfolio of Ankur Capital, an India-focussed VC fund backing early-stage startups.
This is the seventh addition to Ankur Capital’s agritech startup portfolio. Prior to that, it had invested in agritech startup, Agricx Lab which has developed an AI-overlayed imaging technology for agri-produce quality assessment. Other agritech startups in its portfolio include Cropin Technologies (agri-SaaS), BigHaat (online agri-input distribution), Suma Agro (sustainable bio-inputs), TESSOL (cleantech cold chain) and Health Sutra (superfoods),
“We were attracted by Carmel Organics’ positioning as a quality supplier of medicinal herbs and its traction in markets like Europe and Australia. In the founders, we saw a great combination of strong on-ground connect with farmers as well as the drive to build a global scale company,” said Krishnan Neelakantan, Senior Investment Director at Ankur Capital.
Carmel Organics was founded in 2012 by Shailendra Dhakad and Rajesh Sagitla with the aim of helping small farmers in India increase their incomes by the sales of organic herbs and the production of the spices and their subsequent distribution.
The company has developed an integrated supply chain to deliver traceable, organic, functional herbs to the global markets. It works directly with more than 1,500 farmers, educating and training them on practices that will yield products that meet the quality requirements for certified organic produce across major global markets. In turn, farmers realise significant income gains from this association.
The raised funds from Ankur capital shall be utilised by the company to scale-up its business, particularly targeting the global markets.
As PM Modi’s government is aggressively trying to double the average income of the farmer by 2022, the startups such as Carmel Organics are certainly an asset to the country. A few other promising startups which are working to boost the agritech space in the country include names such as AgroStar, EM3 Agri Services, Farm Taaza, Crofram, Aibono, Gold farm amongst others.
Further, as per Inc42 DataLabs Funding Report 2017, around $36 Mn was invested in 15 startups in the space in 2017. Investors such as Omnivore Partners, Future Venture Capital Company Ltd. (FVCCL), Epsilon Venture Partners, Global Innovation Fund and IDG Ventures amongst others have given signals to stay their grounds in India and to continue investing in the Indian agritech community.
The agritech space in India is one of the hottest sectors to invest or startup currently. As PM Narendra Modi has given indications to launch the ‘Startup Agri India’ scheme, as well as organise regular hackathons to facilitate innovation in agriculture, the time is certainly ripe for the startups to scale ahead and make a mark both in the local as well as the global markets.