Rabobank, Caspian launch debt fund for agritech startups

The fund will focus on data-driven agritech companies that deliver products and services that facilitate small holder farmers in improving their productivity and income.

Netherlands-based lender Rabobank and Indian impact investor Caspian have announced the launch of a Rabo-Caspian Agtech Financing Fund with a pilot corpus of Rs 15 crore.  The fund will provide customized debt solutions to companies operating in the Agtech space in India. 

Avishek Gupta, Investment Director, Caspian Impact Investments, said

“It’s a great time to be an agri-entrepreneur as data and technology revolution grips the agriculture sector in India. We look forward to jointly ensuring that no viable agritech enterprise, which is addressing critical challenges faced by smallholder farmers is starved of funds to scale and sustain."

The fund will focus on data-driven agritech companies that deliver products and services that facilitate smallholder farmers in improving their productivity and income. 

It also aims to provide growth finance to startups who are using the opportunity created by developments in data availability and technology to address critical problems of the food & agriculture sector.

Arindom Datta, Executive Director, rural & development banking/advisory, Rabobank, added,

“We are delighted to partner with Caspian to introduce the first such solution for the agritech companies in India. Caspian brings in strong origination and underwriting skills along with a deep understanding of local agriculture/technology markets."

Established in the 1890s in the Netherlands, Rabobank is a cooperative bank and is recognised for its focus on food and agribusiness. It is present in 39 countries covering 8.4 million clients worldwide. 

In May 2019, Rabobank’s investment arm Rabo Frontier Ventures invests in Pune-based direct-to-farmer digital app AgroStar when the startup secured its Series C funding of $27 million, along with Bertelsmann India, Accel, Chirate Ventures, and Aavishkar Bharat Fund.  

Caspian is a prominent lender to agritech sector startups in India with a track record of having funded more than 25 food and agri startups. Over the past six years, Caspian has provided debt of more than Rs 1200 crore to more than 120 startups and growth stage companies across sectors like food & agribusiness, clean energy, healthcare, education, and financial inclusion.

(Edited by Rekha Balakrishnan)