New Delhi-based VC firm Omnivore Partners is expected to close the remaining half of the $90 Mn fund by the end of January 2018. With this fund, the VC firm aims to invest in 20 agritech and rural innovation-specific startups by next year.
“We are seeing a lot of agritech startups focused on using big data, precision agriculture, IoT play to solve Indian agricultural problems, largely using analytics to determine the best way to grow crops, besides improving soil content and other factors,” said Jinesh Shah, founding partner at Omnivore Partners.
As per media reports, Omnivore Partners is looking to invest in seed-funded and Series A stage startups with a targeted acquisition of 30-35% of stake in the portfolio startups. The startups should be tech-based and can be operational in sectors such as food and nutrition and other varied agriculture sub-sectors
Godrej Group, one of India’s leading conglomerate set up the VC firm Omnivore Partners in 2010 to invest in agricultural technology startups and innovations. At that point, the firm was targeted to reach a $50 Mn fund and started raising funds from August 2011. Post that, in August 2015 reports surfaced that Omnivore Partners is looking to raise its second fund of almost $50 Mn.
Around June 2016, Omnivore Capital received the regulatory approval to float its second fund and it announced to make the first close by the end of 2016.
The current portfolio of VC firm Omnivore Partners includes 12 startups. It also achieved 7th rank in the ‘Most Active Agri-tech Investors’ list of 2012-2016, released by CB Insights in March 2017.
Agritech has been gaining a good amount of popularity these days and has been able to attract a plethora of investors. Recently, B2B agritech firm Farm Taaza raised $8 Mn Series A funding in a round led by Epsilon Venture Partners.
With more than 58% of the rural population relying on agriculture for sustenance, India currently ranks second globally in terms of farm output. According to Inc42 Datalabs, the size of agriculture and allied activities in the country underwent a near-100% growth between FY14 and FY15. Agricultural exports increased from $24.7 Bn in 2011-12 to $32.08 Bn in 2015-16; a CAGR growth of more than 6.75%.
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.
At Inc42’s Farm To Fork event held on September 13, 2017, in Bengaluru, Japanese Entrepreneur turned Investor Taizo Son, Founder & Chairman, Mistletoe, launched ‘Gastrotope’, an accelerator platform to step up from its investment-only-model to help integrate the entire AgriFood startup ecosystem, enabling startups to face challenges at multiple layers.
With the final closure of its $90 Mn fund, another series of potential and innovative startups have a chance to be included in the portfolio of the VC firm Omnivore Capital. With the onset of agritech in India and so many VCs willing to put their money on the sector, it will be worth watching what turn this sector will take in near future.
[The development was reported by ET.]