It was only last week when we looked at the definition of food-tech and asked if we’re all missing a crucial point? Being a country heavily dependent on agriculture, there is very little attention being put on innovations in agriculture. A step in this direction, IIM Ahmedabad’s technology business incubator - Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE) - is launching a food and agri-business accelerator in partnership with a-IDEA - the business incubator at Indian Council of Agricultural Research’s (ICAR) National Academy of Agricultural Research Management (NAARM).
The program aims to accelerate, nurture and invest in innovative early stage startups that have the potential to become scalable and competitive food and agri ventures. Selected startups will be provided with intensive capacity building, mentoring and advisory support. The top two teams shall be provided seed investment of up to Rs 30 lacs each by CIIE, NAARM and Goa-based agri-focused incubator Center for Innovation and Business Acceleration (CIBA). Further, CIIE’s sustainability focused fund Infuse Ventures may invest up to Rs 1 crore per venture in startups in sustainable agriculture areas like precision farming; supply chain tech; soil, weather & water tech; ICT / IoT for agriculture.
CIIE has also partnered with leading agri focused funds such as Omnivore Partners, Aspada Investments and Rural Agri Ventures, who will consider the ventures for potential investments. In addition to these, other strategic partners such as Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, IDMC Ltd. and Agri Investor (a global media platform for agri investments) shall provide active mentoring support to the startups to help them become investment ready.
Vipul Patel, AVP - Agri Investments, CIIE said, "While the agri investments have picked up in the recent years, support for start-ups at the early and pre-revenue stages continues to be limited. With this accelerator, we will be able to scout, accelerate and invest in startups that are trying to address the existing gaps in this sector through product and process innovation.”
Vijay Nadiminti, COO, a-IDEA at NAARM on collaborating with CIIE for the accelerator program, said, “The USP of this program is to identify technological innovations in the agri-ecosystem as well as handhold these startups towards sustainable growth. It is important that an enabling ecosystem is built for channelling more investments into agri ventures. The endeavour of this partnership is to enable a strong ecosystem for attracting more startups in the agri-business and food space and provide them with the much-needed impetus for economic growth whilst enhancing rural incomes.”
Applications for this accelerator will be invited from early-stage startups working on breakthrough technologies and business models in various food and agri-business sectors such as precision farming; farm mechanization; sustainable inputs; new post-harvesting technologies; healthy/ innovative food tech; farm fresh retail; supply chain tech; soil, water and weather tech; ICT / IoT for agriculture.
Applications for the three-month long program are now open, and more information on the program is available at http://agri.ciieindia.org/. Last date for applying is June 12.