Exclusive: Impact investor Ankur Capital to launch $50m fund next year

Rema Subramanian, co-founder, Ankur Capital

Ankur Capital – Mumbai-based impact investor focused on innovative businesses in agriculture, healthcare, education, skill development and rural access – is positioning for the next leg of growth.

The firm has expanded its team and is looking to launch a new fund of up to $50 million early next year, company’s co-founder Rema Subramanian told DEALSTREETASIA in a telephonic interview.

The VC firm had closed its first fund in 2016 with a corpus of Rs 50 crore from multiple Indian and overseas investors.

Having seven companies in its portfolio, Ankur Capital is in the process of adding three more companies – one each in the agriculture, health and education segments – in a couple of weeks, said Rema Subramanian, co-founder of Ankur Capital.

“We would be investing in 6-7 more companies this year. We will primarily look at these three sectors but are also interested in opportunities in fintech, where startups may be looking at innovative ways to enable access to savings products for the base of the Indian population,” she added. The investment will be focused only on Indian companies.

Ankur Capital typically invests up to Rs 5 crore including follow-on rounds. The fund was founded by Rema 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.

From its maiden fund, Ankur Capital will deploy rest of the funds into businesses with direct impact on agriculture, healthcare, education and also look at technologies and innovations such as AI and med-tech that will bring about change in the ecosystem. Alongwith the capital, the VC firm also provides business support for the startup, especially around marketing and HR.

Differentiating Ankur Capital from other sectors, Subramanian said, “the focus on agriculture is a key differentiator for us; 50 per cent of our current portfolio in that sector. In healthcare, while a lot of investment is going into web-based models and management systems, we would focus on service delivery and med-tech.

Most recently, Ankur Capital invested in Chennai-based training simulator maker Skillveri alongwith Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. The other companies in the portfolio are sustainable 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.

Last October, The Small Industries Development Bank of India (Sidbi) issued Rs 10 crore to Ankur Capital.

Another agriculture and rural development focused fund is Omnivore Capital which invests into agriculture technologies and rural livelihood development. It has backed around a dozen of companies from its first fund of $50 million and is in the process of raises a new fund of around $70 million and expects the first close at $37 million in March this year, according to a media report.

SEAF India Investment Advisors (SIIA) also invests in agricultural businesses such as seeds, processing, food ingredients, warehousing and restaurants. The fund is sponsored by the Washington, DC-based Small Enterprise Assistance Funds (SEAF), and has backed several companies in India.

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