• The firm continues to invest in pioneering, technology-led disruptive businesses focused on the next billion users.
  • The firm’s imperative to back innovative technologies in emerging markets has attracted new funding commitments from national and global investors, such as John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) and National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (NABARD).

15 March 2021, Mumbai: Ankur Capital, an early stage venture capital firm, announced that they have closed an intermediate round of their Fund II at 330 crore with new funding commitments from John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) and National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (NABARD). With this, the firm strengthens its undertaking to back pioneering, deeptech businesses focused on the next billion users. The fund also previously attracted commitments from other marquee investors like CDC Group, Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF), and Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI).

With the rapid adoption of new technologies and digitisation, emerging markets like India will see more non English speaking and first time users migrate online, creating fresh opportunities for more sophisticated and robust tech business models around these next billion users. Ankur Capital’s core strategy, to invest in entrepreneurs solving real-world problems using innovative technologies for large-scale impact, aligns with this paradigm shift in how markets are being accessed. Building on their expertise, Fund II will continue to see a focus on agtech, healthtech, fintech, edtech, local language technologies, and deeptech solutions.

Ritu Verma, Cofounder and Managing Partner at Ankur Capital shares, “India is in a unique position to build companies for the next billion users (NBU) that are also globally relevant. We are witnessing a distinct set of companies that are using India’s large and diverse markets to test products before launching abroad. As with Fund I, we are happy to accelerate this trend with Fund II."

“BIRAC is pleased to partner with Ankur Capital under its Fund of Funds scheme - AcE - to support biotech innovations. We look forward to venture funds like AcE Fund Partner - Ankur Capital and encourage private equity mobilisation into the biotech innovation ecosystem. This will benefit the rapidly expanding pipeline of biotech startups who develop technology led innovative products to address unmet needs for India and the world", said Dr. Manish Diwan, Head - Strategy Partnership & Entrepreneurship Development at BIRAC.

"We are excited to support Ankur Capital as one of a select group of major investments that advance the goals of the global Catalytic Capital Consortium initiative,” said Debra Schwartz, Managing Director of Impact Investments at the MacArthur Foundation. “A powerful example of catalytic capital, Ankur’s focus on transformative technology has the potential to improve economic opportunity for low-income individuals across India."

Ankur Capital’s Fund I backed 14 startups, including tech innovators such as Cropin, String Bio, Niramai, BigHaat, and Jiny. In addition to providing equity capital, Ankur partners with the founders, providing technical assistance, training and support in strategic planning, executive mentoring, finance, marketing, talent acquisition and operations. They also recently launched Ankur GRO, an initiative to formalise their Capital Plus approach.

With Fund II, Ankur Capital aims for entry at the seed stack rounds and targets investments of between USD 0.5 million to USD 5 million into each company They intend to invest in 16-18 companies, having already invested in 4 companies.

About Ankur Capital:

Ankur Capital (https://www.ankurcapital.com/) is an early stage venture capital fund focused on the Next Billion Users. Established in 2014, its investment thesis underscores the transformative opportunities created by the growing aspirations and greater digital access of this audience. The following portfolio companies successfully illustrate Ankur Capital’s highly differentiated thesis: CropIn (SaaS solutions for farmers, present in 53 countries); String Bio (alternative protein generation from methane); Niramai (AI-powered thermal imaging for breast cancer diagnosis); and Captain Fresh (aggregators of fresh seafood across select states).

Considered a pioneer in India’s agtech investments, Ankur Capital incubated ThinkAg, the country’s first think tank in the agritech space. Its founders are consistently counted amongst India’s top AI influencers. With the second fund, Ankur Capital strengthens and deepens its commitment to and investment expertise in agtech and healthtech, and expands its reach through opportunities across fintech, edtech, localisation, and insurtech.ᐧ

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