Exclusive: Ankur Capital to launch $50m new fund next quarter, looks to cut bigger cheques

Rema Subramanian, co-founder, Ankur Capital

Mumbai-based impact investor Ankur Capital is gearing up to launch a new fund of up to $50 million in the next few months, which will provide the investment firm the bandwidth to cut bigger cheques.

“We are in the midst of doing a couple of deals from the old fund. Only after we announce those (deals) can we announce the official launch of the fund,” Ankur Capital co-founder Rema Subramanian told DEALSTREETASIA in an interview.

“We are targeting to raise around $40-50 million,” she added.

The venture capital firm had closed its first fund in 2016 with a corpus of Rs 50 crore from multiple Indian and overseas investors. From the first fund, the company has already invested in 11 companies and is looking to close a couple more deals soon.

“Close to 70 per cent of the fund has been utilised across 11 companies,” she said.

The fund was founded by Subramanian and Ritu Verma in 2014. Subramanian has more than three decades of experience in building and scaling operations across various sectors while Verma has worked with Unilever, Philips and Truven.

While the company is focused on innovative businesses in the areas of agriculture, healthcare, education, skill development and rural access, most of its investments have been in its core focus areas of agritech and healthcare. The next couple of investments, however, are likely to be in the education space, Subramanian said.

The new larger fund will also see the company broaden its focus to include areas such as fintech and technology with a far-reaching impact.

Ankur Capital typically invests up to Rs 5 crore at the seed stage, including follow-on rounds through its current fund, and the new fund will provide the investment firm deeper pockets to increase its cheque sizes to up to Rs 15 crore, according to Subramanian.

“We will not do later stage deals. We will still do early stage deals, but we will cut larger size cheques from the new fund. We would also be doing mezzanine kind of deals from this fund,” she said.

“We will be seed stage or early stage investor, we might participate in a Series A but not later than that. Series B would be a follow-on for some of our companies,” she added.

Most recently, Ankur Capital invested in medicinal herbs supplier Carmel Organics and agritech startup Agricx Lab. Other firms in its portfolio include Chennai-based training simulator maker Skillveri, agro-input firm Suma Agro, ERC Eye Care, assisted telemedicine based firm Karma Healthcare, cold chain technology startup Tessol, agri e-commerce startup BigHaat and CropIn Technology, a cloud-based platform to help farmers and buyers track their produce across the production chain.

From the new fund, Ankur Capital is looking to add another 15-18 companies to its portfolio.

Impact investment has been gaining momentum in the last few years, with mainstream VCs also looking at follow-on rounds in startups focused on social impact. In February this year, another agriculture and food tech-focused venture capital firm Omnivore Partners reached the first close of its second fund at $46 million. Omnivore is targeting a total of $75 million for its second fund and plans to complete fundraising by August 2018.

Recently, Seattle and Bengaluru-based early-stage impact investor Unitus Seed Fund was reported to have raised $12.9 million for its second investment vehicle, which is targeted to close at around Rs 300 crore ($46 million).

It was also reported that food and agribusiness sector-focused investor Rabo Equity Advisors is planning to raise around $400 million to step up its investments in India.

“Today investors realise that there is no difference in regular investing and impact investing. It’s just that the focus of the companies or sectors that we select has an underlying impact theme to it,” said Subramanian.

Also Read:

Ankur Capital backs medicinal herbs supplier Carmel Organics

Ankur Capital invests $500k in Agricx

India: Omnivore Partners hits first close of second VC fund at $46m

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.