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Omnivore Partners Aiming for January 2018 Close of $90M Fund

October 25, 2017

India-based agtech firm Omnivore Partners is expecting to see a close of half of its $90 million fund in November, and to see a final close by January of next year.

Co-founded by Mark Kahn and Jinesh Shah in 2010, Omnivore Partners now has offices in Mumbai, New Delhi, and Bengaluru and focuses on venture capital investments spanning Seed and Series A rounds for companies in the agtech sector including digital platforms, precision ag, IoT, UAVs, remote sensing, and Big Data solutions. Omnivore also focuses on companies creating branded food products, novel ingredients, food processing, water management, food storage, and traceability and safety along the food value chain.

The firm’s first fund was launched in April 2012; had its first US$38.8 million close in 2013, and was being wrapped by April 2016, Kahn told GAI News last year. By that time, Omnivore had already filed the necessary paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for the launch of Fund II which had an initial target of US$70 million.

Since then the company has built an impressive portfolio that includes Chennai-based FR8 – a startup dedicated to advancing the long-haul trucking industry; Ecozen – a maker of solar powered cold storage units that are sold or rented to Indian farmers who can then store their perishable crops instead of having to sell at low prices; MITRA – an acronym for machines, information, technology, resources for agriculture, aims to help mechanize fruit cultivation in India; Bangalore-based IT and services startup Retigence Technologies; and Bangalore-based food processing company, Y-Cook, among others.

Although the second fund was also to have an agtech focus, it would vary from the first in that where the first fund raised its capital from within India, the second was looking to raise funds from both Indian and foreign investors. Furthermore, moving forward, Kahn expressed the team’s intent of applying lessons learned from Fund I when navigating Fund II.

“We understand now that the amount of runway that deals need in India to reach the stage where they can be syndicated with deeper larger generalists funds is a lot longer than we originally thought. We’re incorporating that into the next fund,” Kahn told GAI News last April.

Over the course of the next year, Omnivore plans to invest in up to 20 agech and innovative rural startups, with a targeted acquisition of between 30 – 35 percent interest in each portfolio company.

“The idea is to continue to help these startups with follow-on funding rounds at the series-B level. Through this fund, between 18 and 20 startups will be funded during 2018,” Jinesh Shah told the Economic Times, adding that there is a raised level of interest from European venture capital firms in being involved in follow-on rounds in the country.

India ranks second in the world for agricultural output and saw almost 100 percent growth in its agriculture and associated industries between FY14 and FY15, according to Inc42. However, the majority of this production system is made up of fragmented smallholder farmers – and agtech innovations or food companies that address the unique needs of such a system are gaining traction and investor capital.

Most recently, in August of this year, Indian agtech farm-to-business (F2B) startup Crofarm raised a Rs 10 cr (US$1.5 million) seed round that included U.S.-based Factor[e] Ventures, Mukul Singhal and Rohit Jain, former principals at SAIF Partners; angel investor Himanshu Aggarwal; co-founder and CEO of Aspiring Minds, Ashish Gupta; and vice president at Paytm, Sunil Goyal, among others.

Founded little over a year ago by Prashant Jain and Varun Khurana, Crofarm is aiming to disrupt and modernize India’s fresh food supply chain. Through its app Crofarm Agriproducts, the startup sources produce directly from its network of more than 10,000 farmers, which it provides to large scale retailers including Big Basket, Grofers, Reliance Retail, Jubilant Foodworks, Big Bazar, and Metro Foods.

And earlier this month Indian fresh produce supply chain management and business-to-business (B2B) agtech platform Farm Taaza Produce Pvt. Ltd raised an $8 million Series A led by Hong Kong-based Epsilon Venture Partners, and Tara Indian Fund IV.

-Lynda Kiernan 

Lynda Kiernan is Editor with GAI Media and daily contributor to GAI News. If you would like to submit a contribution for consideration, please contact Ms. Kiernan at lkiernan@globalaginvesting.com.

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