Mumbai-based venture capital firm, Omnivore Partners recently closed its first deal in the North East region of India. The firm made a Series A investment in Guwahati based Arohan Foods, a pork integrator that works with small holder pig farmers across Northeast India and retails pork products nationwide. While the actual figure was not disclosed, the investment is in the range of Rs 2 crore – Rs 6 crore.
Talking about the investment, Mark Kahn, partner, Omnivore Partners said, “There is a large market of pork eaters in the East and North East parts of India. Arohan will also look at expanding into neighbouring countries like Nepal & Myanmar once they increase capacity and can service the demand.”Arohan Foods was started by Anabil Goswami, Arindom Hazarika and Ranapratap Brahma who were earlier working with Tata Chemicals, Kotak Mahindra Bank and Bank of Baroda respectively. Arohan Foods is supported by National Research Center on Pigs, an ICAR institute, to produce India's most hygienically processed pork. They work with small holder pig farmers in Northeast India to improve their animal husbandry practices, ensuring the highest quality farm pigs for sourcing. Arohan's flagship brand, Choice Pork Natural, is currently retailing across Northeast India and going forward will begin pan-India expansion later this year. Some of the investment money will be used for expansion into other geographies, besides investing in capacity building for the startup.
This investment by Omnivore is perhaps the first investment by any VC/PE firm in the NE region. Talking about the process Mark says, they had assigned a team to actively scout for probable investments in the NE region and after two months of evaluation shortlisted five possible opportunities. Of the five, Arohan Foods was the most interesting. Omnivore Partners has invested into Arohan Foods in exchange for a significant minority stake in the company.
Omnivore Partners is Rs 250-crore fund that invests in startups that are involved in the agricultural technology space. The fund has invested in four ventures so far – Skymet Weather Services, Noida; Frontal Rain Technologies, Bangalore; Khedut Agro, Rajkot and Arohan Foods is their fourth investment.