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Farm-focused Pioneering Ventures opens Rural India Impact Fund to push growth

Accelerator’s Private Equity fund targets $70m corpus to provide growth capital exclusively to companies it has backed so far.

, ET Bureau|
Jun 10, 2019, 08.57 AM IST
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The new fund will largely look at fulfilling the capital expenditure that these startups will need to make to sustain the threefold growth.
BENGALURU: Agri-focused accelerator and investor Pioneering Ventures has launched its Rural India Impact Fund, a private equity fund with a targeted corpus of $70 million, to provide growth capital exclusively to companies it has backed so far.

The Mumbai and Zurich-based investor has incubated five companies — Desai Fruits & Vegetables, Citrus International, FarmLink, MilkLane and Samaaru — in the agriculture, agri-supply chain and farmer credit space. “The fund went live recently as a private equity fund that exclusively invests in Pioneering Ventures’ (PV’s) businesses. The plan is to, over the next two years, build the fund to around $70 million and to use all the proceeds into PV’s five business,” said Martin Wittwer, executive partner for operations at Pioneering Ventures.

The limited partners for the new fund are largely European HNIs and family funds who have invested in the five businesses alongside Pioneering Ventures. The investor said the fund was necessary as four of the companies were now ready for their next stage of growth.

Pioneering Ventures said the combined revenues of its five companies will be around $100 million this year and expects this to grow to $300 million in the next two years. The new fund will largely look at fulfilling the capital expenditure that these startups will need to make to sustain the threefold growth.

“This gives you a sense of the importance of making growth capital available (for these companies),” Wittwer added.

The investor has previously iterated that it wants to reach one million farmers through its companies, enabling them to grow higher quality produce while also enabling them to sell directly to realise better returns. “The five companies (we have backed) play an important role in building an end-to-end value chain in agri-food in India,” added Wittwer.
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