India’s first ever Food and Agri-Business accelerator program run by IIM-A’s Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE) in partnership with the ICAR-National Academy of Agricultural Research Management (NAARM), hosted its first workshop in Hyderabad from July 23-25, 2015.
Earlier in July, the accelerator had announced its cohort of 8 start-ups, which are:
Auxin Crop Consultants: An agriculture advisory startup that enables farmers to post crop visual symptoms through a mobile application and get customised advisory support from the experts.
Cheermap Foods: A hardware product/service based startup which makes a variety of authentic and tasteful Indian tea (Chai) available outside home in a convenient manner.
Flybird Innovations: An affordable irrigation technology producer of small and marginal farmers. Their smart irrigation controllers help increase farm productivity by regulating precise water flow by sensing soil moisture, temperature and humidity.
Inner Being Wellness: A food innovation company offering new and innovative products like flour, flakes, noodles, vermicelli, pasta, bread made from Quinoa. These products are gluten free, low calorie and reduce the lifestyle disorders like high cholesterol, diabetes, gluten allergies, in
Innovation Agro: A hyperlocal information platform using a combination of community-based precision farming and supply chain analytics for farmers to improve yield and market their produce.
Karna Candy: a company aiming to revolutionise the functional candies market in India. Karna has developed innovative, natural and completely vegetarian range of candies tailored to Indian consumer taste/palette.
Kinetic Machines: a technology company aiming to address the acute labor shortage problem in farming. It is developing sustainable farm mechanisation solutions by introducing bio-mimicking to improve human capacity in farming.
Living Greens Organics: One of the first urban farming companies in India to make specialised rooftop organic farming solutions.
Over the course of the three-day long capacity building workshop, the cohort of eight teams underwent intensive exposure to the multi-disciplinary business orientation curriculum of CIIE including business model canvas exercise, financial modeling basics, making the right pitch, marketing and sales in the context of agribusiness start-ups, a deliberation on investor perspectives, and legal aspects of fund-raising. Some of the key mentors at the workshop include V.N. Saroja (CEO, Agriwatch), Girish Aivalli (MD and CEO, Rural Agri Ventures), Kanan Narayanswamy (Founder, Start-up to Scale-up), Ramana Gogula (Unitus Seed Fund), Jinesh Shah (Omnivore Partners), and VC Karthic (Founder, Buzzworks Business Services).
Along with the knowledge sessions, there were also multiple one-to-one mentoring sessions where each start-up personally interacted with the relevant mentors for advisory support and guidance, and a motivational experience-sharing session by Krishna Kumar from CropIn who dwelt upon his successful entrepreneurial journey. At the end of the workshop, the teams worked on their immediate action plan before they appear for the investors’ demo day at CIIE, IIM Ahmedabad.
On the experiences from the workshop, Vipul Patel, Associate Vice President, Agri-Investments at CIIE said, “The cohort is very energetic and eager to improve. Apart from our structured sessions which have elicited very positive feedback from the participants, we were glad to see a lot of peer learning and sharing happening. The diversity and innovation quotient of the cohort has impressed our panel of mentors and experts as well. We are proud and privileged to host the country’s first Food and Agri-business Accelerator, and would like to thank ICAR-NAARM and all other partners who have enabled this.”
The three-month long program aims at accelerating, nurturing and investing in innovative early stage start-ups that have the potential to become scalable and competitive ventures in the food and agri-business space. The CIIE-NAARM team will be mentoring these start-ups over the next two months to refine their models and gear them up for the pitching session before investors during the demo day. The accelerator programme has committed INR 30 lakhs each to the top two start-ups, while the rest of the cohort will get an opportunity to tap the investor community during the Demo Day. Stay tuned!