Exclusive: Carmel Organics raises first round of funding led by Ankur Capital
Set up in 2012, MP-based Carmel Organics will use the fund raise to scale their business and focus on targeted global markets.
Carmel Organics, the supplier of medicinal herbs, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding led by Ankur Capital. This is the first round of funding raised by Carmel. Founded in 2012 by Shailendra Dhakad and Rajesh Sagitla, Carmel Organics was started with the aim of helping small farmers in India increase their income through production of organic herbs and spices.
The current fund raise will primarily be utilised to scale the startup's business, with a special focus on targeted global markets. Based out of Madhya Pradesh, Carmel Organics has developed an integrated supply chain that delivers traceable, organic, and traditional herbs to the world.
“We have been associated with Ankur Capital for several years as the partners have served as valuable advisors while Carmel has grown to its current scale. Their support and strong understanding of agricultural value chains made them our first choice when we developed our growth plans,” Shailendra says.
Carmel Organics works directly with over 1,500 farmers, educating and training them on practices that will yield produce that meets the quality requirements for certified organic produce across major global markets. In turn, farmers realise significant income gains from this association.
While bootstrapped, Carmel Organics had a growth of 30-40 percent year-on-year.
“We were attracted by Carmel Organics' positioning as a quality supplier of medicinal herbs and its traction in markets like Europe and Australia. In the founders, we saw a great combination of strong on-ground connect with farmers as well as a drive to build a global scale company” says Krishnan Neelakantan, Senior Investment Director at Ankur Capital.This is Ankur Capital’s second investment in an agritech startup.
Betting on agritech
Earlier this year, the agritech-focused fund invested in Agricx Lab, a startup that has developed an AI-overlayed imaging technology for agri-produce quality assessment. The company had raised $5,00,000.
Agritech startups are fast growing in India. It is no surprise as agriculture still accounts for 22 percent of India’s GDP. According to an IBEF report, several players have invested in the agricultural sector in India, mainly driven by the government’s initiatives and schemes.
With this investment, Ankur Capital’s AgriTech portfolio has grown to eight. From agri-SaaS (Cropin Technologies), online agri-input distribution (BigHaat), sustainable bio-inputs (Suma Agro), cleantech cold chain (TESSOL), and super foods (Health Sutra), Ankur Capital’s portfolio companies are at the frontier of the new face of agriculture.