Omnivore invests in startup businesses aimed at supporting India’s 500 million-strong farm population.
These startups are producing technologies to make the process of farming more efficient; they’re improving the supply chain to put more money in farmers’ pockets; or they’re creating novel food products with a direct link to the farmer.
Omnivore Fund 2 investors — known as LPs in venture capital land — are mostly development finance institutions (DFI), which are government-backed banks focused on backing private and public projects in developing nations.
Other types of impact investors joined the fund as well, including Ceniarth, The Rockefeller Foundation, the Sorenson Impact Foundation and asset management groups Mistletoe, Sonanz, Ceniarth, AXA Investment Managers and local Indian banking group RBL.
Global agribusiness BASF also invested.
The global nature of the investor base is a break from Fund 1, which was made up of local Indian investors and closed in 2013, according to Mark Kahn, partner at the firm.
“For the last fund, we really only raised funding from India as we were a first time fund in an unproven space, so we just focused on investors that already knew about Indian agriculture and wanted exposure to it,” he told AgFunderNews. “This time we really focused on a mix of strategic investors, impact investors, and DFIs that all had deep knowledge of ag and challenges faced in the sector in India and were deeply motivated to back a catalyst to help transform it.”
The fund is focused on startups that have a direct connection to India’s farmer population, which can mean investing further down the supply chain in companies like Doodhwala, a Fund 2 investment. Doodhwala is a farm-to-consumer, subscription-based, hyper-local, early morning delivery platform for perishables and daily essentials, sourced directly from local farms and dairies.
Omnivore Fund 2 has made another four investments including sensing startup AgNext, small robot developer TartanSense, ag services and products marketplace DeHaat, and crop quality monitoring technology Intello Labs.
Omnivore expects to make around 20 investments in Fund 2, focused at Seed stage although it will invest at Series A too, and reserves capital for follow-on funding in later rounds.
A big theme for agritech in India in the next year will be fintech for agriculture, according to Kahn. “We expect to spend a long time on this category,” he said. IoT throughout the supply chain is another big theme for Omnivore, as well as innovative food startups that link directly back to the farmer. That could include novel plant proteins that don’t rely on imports of pea protein from abroad or making use of India’s wealth of ancient grains, Kahn told AgFunderNews.
Headquartered in Mumbai, Omnivore also has offices in Delhi, Bengaluru, and Chennai.
Omnivore Fund 1 has twelve active portfolio companies, including Skymet, Stellapps, Eruvaka, MITRA, Y-Cook, Ecozen, FR8, and GramCover. In aggregate, over 5.2 million Indian farmers currently use products and services developed by Omnivore Fund 1 portfolio companies, according to a press release.