Emerging and Growth Markets | June 29, 2023

Omnivore raises $150 million for its third India agrifood tech fund

Jessica Pothering
ImpactAlpha Editor

Jessica Pothering

ImpactAlpha, June 29 – Omnivore secured $150 million in a first close of its third agrifood impact tech fund. The Mumbai-based impact investor surpassed a $130 million total fund target to invest in early-stage startups in India.

The firm is embedding a climate lens, which aligns with VC investing trends in India. “We see increasing climate salience in everything that we’re doing,” Omnivore’s Mark Kahn told ImpactAlpha.

The VC downturn has generated more opportunity for early-stage investors like Omnivore, he said. “Valuations have come down sharply so that makes us more excited.”

Investors in Omnivore’s third fund include Germany’s KfW, the Netherlands’ FMO and Dutch Good Growth Fund, International Finance Corp. and the Gates Foundation. 

Climate finance

“The greatest risk and opportunity for Indian agriculture are the adverse effects of climate change,” Kahn said.

In December, Omnivore invested in Varaha, which links smallholder farmers to carbon markets for sustainable agroforestry and mangrove conservation. It scored a partial exit from Ecozen, a Pune-based startup that makes clean energy-fueled products to help farmers weather drought, heatwaves and other climate impacts.

Track record

Omnivore, launched in 2011, was for years the only dedicated agtech investor in a country with more than 100 million smallholder farmers.

“Agriculture in India is impactful by default,” Kahn told ImpactAlpha in a 2019 interview. It inked $39 million for its first fund, backed exclusively by domestic investors, and $82 million for its second.

Omnivore has invested in 40 companies, and notched two exits and five partial exits. The firm remains committed to backing startups early: its third fund will make 25 to 30 investments at the seed to Series A stage, reserving capital for follow-on rounds. A portion of capital is allocated for seeding domestic agrifood life sciences companies.