Convenience, Clean Food & Millenial Consumption Hot Areas for Investment in 2019
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Omnivore Partners, a venture fund investing in early stage agricultural technology companies in India, sees the investment ecosystem in 2019 look very different.
Led by Mark Kahn, the venture capitalist fund supports ag-tech businesses that are developing solutions to improve farm productivity, support agricultural sustainability, and modernize agribusiness supply chains.
In a conversation, Subhadeep Sanyal – Principal at Omnivore Partners, explained about the fund’s focus and strategy going forward.
“In term of focus, we look at three area primarily agriculture technologies, innovative foods and the rural livelihood,” Sanyal told Entrepreneur India.
When scouting for interesting startups in the agriculture technologies space, Omnivore looks for those that focus on the economics of a farmer’s life. Companies that help in improving profitability at a farmer level; any new technology and technique that makes the farmer make more money interest Omnivore.
In the innovative food space, companies with a very strong backward integration are of interest to the fund. “So if you have a food company which might be a processing company might be a QSR-oriented business but if you are procuring from the farmer or if you have plans to involve the farmer that is what we look at,” Sanyal said.
With respect to rural livelihood, Sanyal spoke about being interested in companies in the insurance, financial services etc that are focused on farmers’ supply chain innovation.
Areas Slated for Growth
According to Sanyal, the areas that are slated for explosive growth from the investments perspective clean food, millennial consumption and convenience.
Clean Food – Thee Indian consumer is aware and wants to know where their food is coming from, so the whole pieces of cleaner food and of course healthy food, clean thing is what we see evolving over the next 10 years and absorbing a lot of capital both on the tech side and the implementation side.
Millenial Consumption – Where we see huge trend is when we talk about millennial consumers The urban consumer is changing drastically and there is a huge influx of consumers who are well-travelled and hence are looking at different format whether it’s that same old tea and coffee but there is a third way of coffee right now in India. “We are looking at more artesian way of coffee or better quality of teas, I think that is other area where innovation will happen,” Sanyal said.
Convenience – This is something that we see is increasingly. Seeing convenience food doesn’t mean junk food or fast food but people are effectively looking for more convenience in how they buy food, how they consume food, those are some of the areas, which we see taking off in a big way.
He explained how people today are looking for convenience food, which simply means the easy availability of the food also covers large aspects from cleaning it to the cooking of food as it saves the time also which is healthy.
Indian Entrepreneur Vs Foreign Players
Sanyal isn’t fixated with a particular model of business when it comes to business.
He believes it is currently fifty-fifty – there are entrepreneurs who come with a model that has worked in the West. These may create a sustainable business for an entrepreneur but are not very interesting for the investor to make a return out of it. But many India-specific models are also being created.
“Like Y-Cook, a food technology company, is creating a new category of minimally processed vegetables, lentils in the food space. There’s a lot that goes into the tech as far as processing and the whole backward integration is concerned. It works with 2,500 farmers to grow sweet corn but now it is growing Rajma and Chole,” said Sanyal.