In this five-year review of Indian agrifood startup investment activity between 2013 and 2017, we detail $1.66 billion of investment across 558 deals; that’s 10% of global deal count.
So far, India’s agrifood entrepreneurs have mostly focused on answering the demands of the country’s growing middle class, which is set to surpass China in size by 2024. For that reason, $1.48 billion was invested downstream, clos to the consumer.
Downstream investment came from major global private investment funds including Sequoia Capital and Accel Partners, large multinational corporations such as Alibaba, Naspers, and SoftBank as well as local consumer funds including DSG Consumer Partners and Saama Capital.
Given the importance of consumption upgrade as a driver in India’s startup ecosystem, AgFunder and Omnivore implemented a new category “Premium Branded Foods & Restaurants” to reflect this influential trend.
Investment in the upstream categories – Ag Biotech, Farm Management Software, Sensing & IoT, Farm Robotics, Biomaterials, Midstream Tech, Ag Marketplaces, and FinTech — only represented 26% of deal activity by number and 10% by value from 2013 to 2017. But it grew 7 times over the period as investors paid increasing attention to the needs of the country’s 100 million+ farmers and the country’s broken supply chain. With the exception of US-headquartered Accel Partners, specialist funds dominate upstream funding, including Omnivore — India’s only dedicated agrifood tech fund — and impact funds including Aspada and Ankur Capital. Qualcomm Ventures, Mistletoe and 500 Startups are other active investors.
Overall, investment activity in the country’s agrifood startup industry fluctuated during the period, particularly after the failure of some food delivery startups in 2016. But we expect to see larger, later stage food delivery investments and consolidation as Premium Branded Foods & Restaurants and FarmTech startups drive early stage activity.
Find out more about the key deals and investors driving India’s bustling agrifood startup sector here: