Beats | April 3, 2019

With agtech company ULink, Aavishkaar invests with one fund, exits with another

Jessica Pothering
ImpactAlpha Editor

Jessica Pothering

ImpactAlpha, April 3 – Indian impact investor Aavishkaar first backed ULink in 2013. The Pune-based company had developed AgroStar, a telephone hotline to help small farmers secure agricultural inputs like seeds and fertilizer at affordable prices. The company was an early mover in India’s nascent agtech sector.

Aavishkaar made the investment shortly after the company was founded, during its pre-revenue stage, via its early stage Aavishkaar India II fund. The investment firms has since made subsequent investments in ULink, including most recently in the company’s $27 million Series C round, where it participated via its later-stage Bharat Fund.

AgroStar has evolved since 2013. It is online- and app-based. It also now sells agricultural hardware and provides farming advisory services. Today, it supports 175,000 farmers and partners with 200 agricultural suppliers in the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan.

During the company’s Series C round, Aavishkaar India II exited the company—marking the $94 million fund’s first exit, and Aavishkaar’s 28th exit in total. Aavishkaar disclosed in a statement that the exit yielded a 13.1x return on investment.

As of March last year, Aavishkaar had $800 million in assets under management (AUM) and a goal of reaching $4 billion AUM by 2024, The Times of India reported. A large part of its strategy is focused outside of India. It is currently raising Asia and Africa-focused funds.

For ULink, its latest funding round was backed by Bertelsmann India, Accel, and Chirate Ventures, in addition to Aavishkaar’s Bharat Fund. It is the largest among a recent spate of agtech deals in India that also includes fundraises by online marketplace DeHaat and agriculture sensor makers TartanSense and AgNext.