Dealflow | March 16, 2021

Ankur Capital tops up early-stage impact tech fund in India

Jessica Pothering
ImpactAlpha Editor

Jessica Pothering

ImpactAlpha, March 16 – Ankur Capital backs early-stage, high-impact tech companies in healthcare, financial services, education, agriculture and food. The Mumbai-based impact investor secured backing from India’s Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council and the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development to bring its second fund to 3.3 billion rupees ($45.5 million) of a targeted $50 million.

The commitments follow an investment from the MacArthur Foundation in January, and a $33 million first close last year. 

“There are two types of impact we can create: one is directly to people,” Ankur’s Ritu Verma told ImpactAlpha. “The other is structural—in solving issues in markets that allow the next billion people to participate more effectively and efficiently.”

Ankur has upped its focus on agri-food opportunities (see, “Digitization of smallholder farming draws investors to Indian agtech startups”). It just re-upped its investment in seafood marketplace Captain Fresh, co-leading the $3 million round with Matrix Partners India. In January, it re-upped its investment in agriculture analytics company CropIn.

Ankur is also upping the check sizes to up to $5 million for its second fund. Many of the companies in Ankur’s portfolio are developing hardware and other physical products that have longer timelines to reach the market. The firm aims to give portfolio companies more runway, Verma said.

“It doesn’t really help a company if they need $100 and you give them $50,” she said. “These [larger] check sizes are really necessary.”