Sathguru wants $100 m on Its Plate

A roundup of top fund­ing deals from the startup world Co looks to raise funds to start an In­no­va­tion in Food and Agri­cul­ture Fund to in­vest in star­tups

The Economic Times - - Disruption: Startups & Tech - Var­sha.Bansal @times­group.com

Hy­der­abad: Hy­der­abad-based con­sult­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion Sathguru Man­age­ment Con­sul­tants is rais­ing $100 mil­lion to start an In­no­va­tion in Food and Agri­cul­ture Fund (IFAF) that will be man­aged by their fund man­age­ment com­pany Sathguru Catal­yser Ad­vi­sors. They plan to in­vest ap­prox­i­mately $8 mil­lion each in eight to 12 com­pa­nies for a sig­nif­i­cant mi­nor­ity stake.

The fund is on a look­out for com­pa­nies that are en­gaged in adopt­ing tech­nol­ogy so­lu­tions to ad­dress com­plex is­sues im­pact­ing agri­cul­ture, food and nutri­tion in In­dia, with the first deal ex­pected to close by mid-2017. Sathguru Man­age­ment Con­sul­tants, which is the spon­sor of the fund, brings to the ta­ble an ex­pe­ri­ence of 30 years from the fields of agri­cul­ture, food and health­care sec­tors dur­ing which they have worked with en­ter­prises right from the in­cu­ba­tion stage to mar­ket lead­er­ship phase. The fund will be headed by Vi­ja­yaragha­van K, A Krishna Ku­mar, Prabhu C and Venu Gopal Chin­tada. The four part­ners to­gether bring in ex­per­tise from dif­fer­ent ar­eas — rang­ing from en­ter­prise in­cu­ba­tion and fund rais­ing, to banking and ven­ture fund man­age­ment. “We want to bring in techno-com- mer­cial ex­per­tise,” Chin­tada, part­ner at Sathguru Catal­yser Ad­vi­sors told ET. “We are fo­cus­ing on es­tab­lished busi­nesses that have al­ready cre­ated chan­nel part­ners and de­vel­oped prod­uct on a com­mer­cial level. From that stage, if they strug­gle to move up to the fullfledged growth stage, that is where we want to come in.” Re­fer­ring to their fund as an ac­cel­er­a­tor fund, the part­ners in­tend to in­vest in early com­mer­cial stage com­pa­nies. Part­ners at the fund be­lieve that cur­rent funds that fo­cus on food and agribusi­ness sec­tors are risk-averse and bi­ased to­wards growth by in­vest­ing in es­tab­lished busi­ness mod­els rather than early-stage com­pa­nies. They claim that this fund by Sathguru would meet the sig­nif­i­cant un­met de­mand for early stage growth cap­i­tal in agri­cul­ture and food com­pa­nies in In­dia. While the fund is fo­cused on in­no­va­tion-led com­pa­nies, their tar­get may not nec­es­sar­ily be star­tups. “To­day in­no­va­tion is used in­ter­change­ably with startup. How­ever, we are not nec­es­sar­ily talk­ing about star­tups be­cause in­no­va­tion takes place in mid- and large-size com­pa­nies as well,” added Chin­tada.

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