Madhya Pradesh based agriculture startup Carmel Organics, a supplier of world class medicinal herbs, has raised an undisclosed amount from Ankur Capital, an India focused VC fund with a significant Agritech portfolio. The funds shall be utilized by the company to scale-up its business, with special focus of targeted global markets.

Carmel, a Forbes 30 under 30 awardee in 2018, was founded in 2012 by Shailendra Dhakad and Rajesh Sagitla with the aim of helping small farmers in India increase their incomes by organic herbs and spices production. Based in Madhya Pradesh, Carmel has developed a world class integrated supply chain to deliver traceable, organic, functional herbs to the world.

The company works directly with more than 1,500 farmers, educating and training them on practices that will yield produce that meet the quality requirements for certified organic produce across major global markets. In turn, farmers realize significant income gains from this association.

It may be recalled that in last September Caramel was among six startups shortlisted by Jaipur's Startup Oasis for receiving Rs.1.7 crore funds.

“We were attracted by Carmel Organics' positioning as a quality supplier of medicinal herbs and its traction in markets like Europe and Australia.” - said Krishnan Neelakantan, Senior Investment Director at Ankur Capital. Speaking of Carmel founders, Shailendra Dhakad and Rajesh Sagitla, Krishnan said, “In the founders, we saw a great combination of strong on-ground connect with farmers as well as drive to build a global scale company”

“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.” says Shailendra.

Ankur Capital is an early stage venture capital fund that invests in opportunities created by rising aspirations and digital access for the next billion Indians. Ankur Capital invests in technologies and product innovations in agriculture, healthcare, education and other areas with potential to create large scale impact.

Earlier this year, Ankur Capital had invested in agritech startup, Agricx Lab which has developed an AI-overlayed imaging technology for agri-produce quality assessment.

With this investment, Ankur Capital’s AgriTech portfolio increases 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.

To recall, last September government had announced its plan to work with agritech startups in the country that can help them in efficiently implementing some of its flagship programmes like soil health card, irrigation and crop insurance, among various others. Prior to this, the govt. had also launched AGRI-UDAAN programme to boost food and agriculture startups in the country.

In January, Cambridge and Pune-based agri-tech startup KisanHub had raised $2.43 million in pre-Series A funding led by UK-based B2B tech venture capital firms Notion Capital and IQ Capital.

In November 2017, Bengaluru based agri-tech startup KrishiHub raised undisclosed seed funding from IIT-Kanpur INVENT accelerator and Villgro Innovation Fund.

In the same month, an another agri-tech startup Farmlink had raised seed funding from Pioneering Ventures, a Swiss-based incubator and investment firm, and Syngenta, a Swiss agribusiness firm. The startup is based out of Mumbai. Additionally, in the same month, Jindal Stainless launched accelerator program for agri-tech startups India, in association with Japan’s ANEW Holdings

In last August, Gurgaon-based agritech startup Crofarm had raised Rs 5 crore in a pre-Series A round from Rajan Anandan, Google India MD, and Jitendra Gupta, and PayU India MD, among others.

Top Image (L-R) - Shailendra & Rajesh

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