The Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE), of the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad business school, has selected eight food and agriculture technology start-ups to take part in its three-month accelerator programme.
At the end of the three-month programme, the finalists will present their businesses to potential investors at a demo day where CIIE will also select two winners to invest seed capital in alongside ICAR’s National Academy of Agricultural Research Management (NAARM) and the Centre for Incubation and Business Acceleration (CIBA), a Goa-based incubator.
“A lot of investors tend to tag along with us after we select our winners so we will syndicate out the round after our selection,” said Vipul Patel, assistant vice president of agri investments at CIIE. “We will also facilitate interaction between other start-ups and investors during the demo day.”
India’s first food and agriculture-focused accelerator received nearly 200 applications, of which 100 were analysed by CIIE along with partnering organisations such as NAARM, and venture capital players, agriculture experts and local agribusiness heads, according to Patel.
Fifteen start-ups were shortlisted and CIIE held telephone interviews with them all before selecting the final eight, which presented businesses ranging from farm mechanisation and ICT for agriculture to food processing technologies and urban farming.
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The finalists are:
Auxin Crop Consultants: an agriculture advisory startup, enables farmers to post crop visual symptoms through a mobile application and get customised advisory support from the experts. They envisage creating big data for agriculture which can be used for better decision making and prediction by agribusinesses and farmers.
Cheermap Foods: a hardware product/service based startup which makes a variety of authentic and tasteful Indian tea (chai) available outside of homes in a convenient manner.
Flybird Innovations: an affordable irrigation technology producer for small and marginal farmers. Their smart irrigation controllers help increase farm productivity by regulating precise water flow by sensing soil moisture, temperature and humidity.
Inner Being Wellness: a food innovation company offering new and innovative products like flour, flakes,noodles, vermicelli, pasta, bread made from quinoa. These products are gluten free, low calorie and reduces the lifestyle disorders like high cholesterol, diabetes, gluten allergies, indigestion and more
Innovation Agro: a hyperlocal information platform using a combination of community-based precision farming and supply chain analytics for farmers to improve yield and market their produce.
Karna Candy: a company aiming to revolutionise the functional candies market in India. Karna has developed innovative, natural and completely vegetarian range of candies tailored to Indian consumer taste/palette.
Kinetic Machines: a technology company aiming to address the acute labor shortage problem in farming. It is developing sustainable farm mechanisation solutions by introducing bio-mimicking to improve the human capacity in farming.
Living Greens Organics: one of the first urban farming companies in India to make specialised rooftop organic farming solutions. Living Greens offers products and services such as portable roof farms, organic input kits and green cover for exposed walls.
The programme kicks off with a three-day workshop next week in Hyderabad where the start-ups will learn about financial and business modeling, and sales and marketing from industry experts. On the final day they will have one-on-one interaction with mentors from the investment and agribusiness industries. The next three-months they will develop their businesses further with the help of support from CIIE, NAARM and other partnering organisations including Asian Development Bank and German development organisation Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), which have both pledged their support to the programme.
The start-ups will have regular interactions with their mentors and CIIE’s network during this period, according to Patel.
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