This Impact Fund Believes In Investing In Agritech Start-ups
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Indian is an agrarian economy. According to the 2018-19 annual report by the ministry of agriculture and farmers’ welfare, agriculture and allied sectors contributed approximately 16 per cent of India’s gross value added (GVA) in 2018-19. Data from Census 2011 also states that 54.6 per cent of the total workforce in India is engaged in this sector. With technological advancements, several start-ups are looking to leverage them to accelerate development in this sector.
While a number of agritech start-ups are working towards developing the sector, agritech-focused funds such as Omnivore are helping these start-ups solve problems. “Agriculture is 20 per cent of the Indian economy and 49 per cent of the workforce. So, why do I need to do more than agritech? We have built a team which is the best to innovate, identify great agritech start-ups, invest in them and help them to scale up,” said Mark Kahn, managing partner of agritech-focused impact fund Omnivore.
Mumbai-headquartered Omnivore is invests in start-ups that are working towards developing breakthrough technologies for food, agriculture and the rural economy. While highlighting the journey, Kahn explained that Omnivore was launched as a corporate venture arm at Godrej AgroveT and later it was spun out independently and it became a stand-alone agritech venture fund. “I've been working for Godrej since 2007 and so it was originally part of that journey,” Kahn said.
Kahn explained while he was overseeing businesses and strategy at Godrej AgroveT, he noticed that there were no agriculture venture investors in India at that time. He saw a huge number of agritech deals flowing in but there was almost nobody to fund those deals. “This sort of gave me the idea to launch a venture firm that was focused on agritech in India,” Kahn said.
With over 20 companies in its portfolio, Omnivore looks to invest $1-2 million in start-ups and its average ticket size is INR 10 crore. Omnivore counts start-ups such as Stellapps (dairy digitization), Ecozen (micro cold storage), DeHaat (small farmers’ marketplace), Intello Labs (fresh produce digitization), TartanSense (crop protection robotics) and Aquaconnect among many others as its portfolio companies.
What Can Agritech Start-ups Expect From Omnivore?
According to Kahn, once a start-up is part of the portfolio, they will get access to Omnivore’s incredibly strong agritech network across India and also across the globe. “In agritech, we are connected with the corporates, government, thought leaders and policymakers connected not only to global agritech VCs but also the generalist VC investing community.”
According to Kahn, Omnivore understands how to scale an agritech business, bring in corporate partners and also understand the ecosystem which will help the start-ups to grow.