Why Omnivore is betting on India’s entrepreneurial story – and the agritech sector

In a recent conversation with YourStory’s Daily Dispatch powered by HSBC, Mark Kahn, Managing Partner, Omnivore, talks about what the future looks like for startups and the sectoral fund, and why it’s betting big on agritech.
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Mumbai-based venture capital firm Omnivore is one the largest sector-specific funds that has been making strategic investments in India’s agriculture space. The fund has invested in companies like DeHaat, Bijak, Intello Labs, and many more.

Mark Kahn, Managing Partner, Omnivore, says that the trend of entrepreneurship has been growing for about a decade.

“In the last five years, more and more young people have decided to take the path of entrepreneurship, seeing the potential to transform sectors, industries, and parts of our society,” he says, adding that the quality of entrepreneurs is improving year after year.

Mark shares that it has become easier to raise funds for startups as compared five or 10 years ago. For funds, the situation is different as they raise funds from institutional sources of capital - family offices or high net worth individuals.

“In India, that has gotten a bit easier as people became more aware of alternative assets and more desirous of having at least some part of their overall portfolio giving them exposure,” he says.

Photo: YourStory

Investment thesis

In terms of primary areas of focus within the agritech sector, Mark says Omnivore largely invests across the areas such as farmer platforms in fintech, agri B2B marketplaces, farm-to-consumer brands, and a few others.

“I think the last few years have been all about marketplaces, platforms, and fintech,” he says.

Omnivore is currently investing more in deep tech and life sciences, and going forward, the firm plans to invest more in the “consumer” space than they used to.

Mark says Omnivore makes around five to six investments in a year. The fund was more active in 2021, but he is anticipating five to six investments. “I believe that [the year] 2022 will see the first unicorns being birthed in the agritech sector,” he says.

When it comes to exits, he says Omnivore is going to announce a major exit in April – its biggest till date – and is on track to make another in a few months.

“Generally speaking, the exit environment is looking reasonably good,” Mark says.
Edited by Teja Lele Desai

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