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

Omnivore Partners founders Jinesh Shah and Mark Kahn

Agriculture and food tech-focused venture capital firm Omnivore Partners has 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.

“The target is to raise around Rs. 450 crore with a greenshoe option to (raise up to) Rs. 600 crore,” founding partner Jinesh Shah told DEALSTREETASIA.

The Mumbai-based investment fund had initially set out to raise $50 million for its second fund but increased its target to over $70 million two years ago.

Omnivore Partners India Fund 2 attracted investors like KfW, SIDBI, the Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF), The Rockefeller Foundation, Ceniarth, RBL Bank, and the Sorenson Impact Foundation, according to an official statement.

Founded in 2010 by Mark Kahn and Jinesh Shah, Omnivore had raised $40 million for its first fund in 2013 exclusively from domestic Indian
investors. Omnivore Fund 1 currently has 12 active portfolio companies, including Skymet, Stellapps, Eruvaka, MITRA, Y-Cook, Ecozen, FR8, and GramCover.

According to Shah, the deployment strategy for the new fund is similar to the first fund. However, it has furthered its scope of investment to agriculture tech including IoT, farm machinery, geospatial, digital and precision agriculture, and innovative food companies with a strong farm connect. It is also keen on rural inclusion technologies which are not directly used on the farm but are part of the farming ecosystem – fintech for farmers, energy solution for farmers, supply chain and logistics for farmers.

Though this new fund, Omnivore is looking to invest in around 16-18 companies. It plans to make initial investments of $1.5-2 million and double up on bets that will reach agreed milestones.

Last month, an Omnivore portfolio company MITRA, which develops proprietary agriculture machinery for horticulture farmers, announced a strategic investment from Mahindra. In December last year, another portfolio company Skymet raised a Series C round from The InsuResilience Investment Fund. Also, Stellapps raised a Series A round from Flipkart Group CEO Binny Bansal, Blume Ventures, and Venture Highway in July 2017.

Omnivore has partially exited both Skymet and Stellapps.

Other investors who operate in the same category in India include agri-business focused funds by Netherlands-based Rabobank, domestic investor Ankur Capital, Cargill’s Black River Asset Management, IDFC and Singapore’s Temasek Holdings.

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

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