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This Incubator Creates Its Own Ventures And Incubates Them Pioneering Ventures follows a hybrid model between a venture capital and entrepreneur firm where it creates its own ventures and incubates them

By Shreya Ganguly

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Akshaya Kamath

While most of venture capitalists (VCs) aim to fund and help their portfolio start-ups scale up, Zurich- and Mumbai-based incubator Pioneering Ventures has taken a different way of investing as it creates its own ventures and incubates them.

"We are not like other private equities. We are a hybrid model between a venture capital and an entrepreneur firm. We create our own ventures (companies) and do the required fundraising for the venture," said Akshaya Kamath, director of Pioneering Ventures.

Pioneering Ventures' Aim

"The end goal of Pioneering Ventures is to create strong sort of entrepreneur-driven ventures. All of our ventures have an X factor, which differentiates them from all the other competitors as their focus is on providing value-added activities to the consumer," said Kamath.

Founded in 2004, Pioneering Ventures is working towards organizing and deploying capital to develop the under-served regions of India through industrial-scale ventures. It is aimed at building agri-food platform consisting of vertically integrated and technologically supported agri-food businesses.

Kamath explained that with agricultural focus, all five companies under Pioneering Ventures have the ability to work in rural India with farmers and drive rural entrepreneurship. "A big part of our model is not just creating results for our own companies but to work with farmers in a way where we will be able to help farmers become small businessmen who can grow their own business," said Kamath.

While highlighting about the firm's agriculture focus, Kamath said, "When we look at the value chain for agriculture, growth in rural India with farmers is just one element of it. After that, you have the logistics, distribution processing, value addition and many other steps which happen after crop is grown in farms. Our more recent ventures have been focused on other elements of the value chain which are adjacent to agriculture. So, in that sense, I have to sort of broaden our description. We are basically present in all elements of the food value chain, starting from the farm and right up to consumers."

Rural India Impact Fund

According to Kamath, the Rural India Impact Fund is being looked at as a way to fund Pioneering Ventures' existing businesses. "In two years, we plan to reach a corpus of around $70 million which will be deployed into ventures created and driven by Pioneering Ventures," said Kamath. "We want to focus on ventures that are created or incubated on our platform."

He added a part of the fund will be deployed to onboard more agritech start-ups onto the platform which will be aligned to the Pioneering Ventures' philosophy. For this, Kamath believes that the capability of the founding team becomes an important factor to look out for. "Many of us at Pioneering Ventures had entrepreneurial careers and we respect entrepreneurs because we know what the perils and highs of an entrepreneurial journey feel like. So for us, getting the right people involved in the venture is very critical," added Kamath.

Shreya Ganguly

Former Features Writer

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