Venture capital firms are almost synonymous with technology startups. Some of the biggest names in the venture capital industry have seen their path to success paved through the golden doors of Silicon Valley. So why would a venture capital firm like Omnivore bet its money on agricultural entrepreneurs?
Mark Kahn, the founding partner at Omnivore, believes that the answer is a no-brainer as when the opportunity involves feeding 1/6th of humanity and taking part in the ecosystem that makes that happen. Founded in 2010 by Jinesh Shah and Mark Kahn, Omnivore started operations in 2011 and is entirely focused on the agritech space in India.
Kahn previously served as the executive vice-president of Godrej Agrovet and has over 14 years of experience working in the agricultural sector in India. He believes that the agritech space in India “is ripe for disruption.” The VC firm aims to be the catalyst that sparks the disruption.
Omnivore’s list of portfolio companies includes GramCover, an insurance marketplace for rural India; Stellapps, which claims to be India’s first dairy technology solutions company that uses cloud computing and data analytics for dairy farms; and Skymet Weather Services, which also claims to be India’s top provider of risk solutions for weather and agriculture.
According to Kahn, as of March 2017, more than 5.2 Mn Indian were using products and services developed by Omnivore portfolio companies and all this has happened in a relatively short period.
Mark also adds that the change is already rapidly happening, but people are not as aware of the changes being brought by technology in agriculture. This is because most journalists, corporates, and VCs live and think in urban India and don’t have complete visibility into the transformation that is happening in rural India.