Impact venture fund, Omnivore, has invested an undisclosed amount in Chandigarh-based agritech startup AgNext through its second fund Omnivore partners India Fund 2. The deal also saw participation from Singapore-based high-net-worth individual Samir Kumar as well as a few angel investors from Singapore and India.
AgNext co-founder Taranjeet Singh Bhamra confirmed the development in a recent conversation with Inc42. “We aim to utilise the recent Series A round of funding for expanding our product in the data analytics in agriculture space by creating a combination of both hardware and software. We further aim to open two international offices in Singapore and Canada in the next six months from now and will further emphasise on strengthening our R&D base at IIT Kharagpur and Kolkata,” he added.
AgNext currently has its offices at IIT Kharagpur, Kolkata, NCR and Bengaluru. Subhadeep Sanyal, Principal at Omnivore, will join AgNext’s board.
Jinesh Shah, Founding Partner at Omnivore, also noted, “AgNext’s comprehensive technology solutions will help multiple stakeholders in the AgriFood domain – including growers, supply chain participants, and food processing companies – to improve the transparency, quality, and overall profitability of their operations.”
AgNext: An Agritech Startup Focussed On Precision Agriculture
Chandigarh-based AgNext was cofounded by IIT Kharagpur alumni Taranjeet, Mrigank Sharad and Deepak Jaiswal in 2016. All the founders are agriculture graduates and have spent considerable time with agri-focussed companies globally.
AgNext is a digital agriculture company providing a platform for analytics-as-a-service using agriculture imagery and IoT devices. It is currently focussed on horticulture, floriculture and plantation crops. The startup collects spatial, temporal and spectral data to provide sensing solutions across the agriculture and food value chain. The firm has developed an integrated digital platform through which growers and food processors can improve their productivity, quality and profitability.
“We are majorly focussed on precision agriculture. Agriculture today is a very different space. Thus, rather than point-specific solutions, more data-based solutions are required. AgNext aims to do the same. How we can collect the maximum data to gather more valuable insights, is what AgNext is known for,” added Taranjeet
AgNext was incubated at Science and Technology Entrepreneurs Park at IIT Kharagpur. It also received seed funding and acceleration from a-IDEA, which is managed by the National Academy of Agricultural Research Management in Hyderabad.
The startup is currently building its revenue stream by selling its SaaS services and hardware to leading corporates globally. “This investment will
help AgNext scale its team, build more innovative product solutions, and serve clients across Indian and international markets. We believe AgNext will make India a global hub for agricultural analytics,” said Taranjeet.
The Agritech Focus Of Omnivore
Omnivore announced the first close of its second fund at $46 Mn in February 2018, with a target to make the final close at $75 Mn. The amount was said to be raised from a clutch of investors, including SIDBI, RBL Bank, Sorenson Impact Foundation, Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF) and The Rockefeller Foundation, among others. With this fund, Omnivore is planning to make 18-20 deals with the ticket size ranging between $1 Mn-$2 Mn in the next four years.
“We will also be looking at fintech deals in companies focussed on farmers as beneficiaries, food processing companies that are sourcing directly from farmers and also farmer-focussed cleantech companies,” said Mark Kahn, founding partner at Omnivore in a media statement.
Between 2012 and 2013, Omnivore raised around $40.4 Mn (INR 260 Cr) for its first fund, which was used to back 12 agritech and foodtech startups. As claimed by Omnivore co-founders Jinesh and Mark, more than 5.2 Mn Indian farmers have used products and services developed by the firm’s portfolio companies till date.
Apart from Omnivore Partners, investors that are active in the agritech space include Future Venture Capital Company Ltd. (FVCCL), IDG Venture, Accel Partners, Aspada Investments, IvyCap Ventures, Unitus Seed Fund, Rabo Equity Advisors, SAIF Partners, Villgro Innovations Foundation, Qualcomm Ventures and IDFC.
Around $36 Mn was invested in 15 startups in the space in 2017, as per Inc42 DataLabs. Out of these, Pune-based agritech startup AgroStar raised the highest funding of $10 Mn led by Accel India in March last year.
Most recently, Gramophone, a technology-enabled marketplace that focusses on enabling efficient farm management, raised $1 Mn (INR 6.40 Cr) Pre-Series A funding from Info Edge. Also, Agricx Lab, an agritech startup that uses smartphone imaging to assess the quality of agricultural produce, raised Seed funding to the tune of $500K led by India-focussed VC fund Ankur Capital.
[The development was reported by ET.]