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Arkam Ventures, Nabventures, others invest in agri lending platform Jai Kisan
Arjun Ahluwalia (left) and Adriel Maniego

Jai Kisan, a lending platform for the farming community, on Tuesday said it has raised Rs 30 crore ($3.9 million) in a pre-Series A funding round led by new investor Arkam Ventures.

Nabventures Fund I, part of NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development), also came in as a new investor, said Jai Kisan in a statement. This is Nabventures' debut deal.

The Mumbai-based startup's existing investors Blume Ventures, Prophetic Ventures and Better Capital also participated in this funding round, it added.

Rajiv Sahney, head of global private equity fund New Vernon Capital’s India office; Sanjaya Mariwala, managing director at PE-backed OmniActive Health Technologies; and others from finance and agriculture also pooled in capital, the company said.

The startup's funding comes over a year after it had raised $1.5 million in a seed round of funding led by Blume Ventures.

Jai Kisan, which is operated by Greenizon Agritech Consultancy Pvt. Ltd, was founded in September 2017 by Arjun Ahluwalia and Adriel Maniego. Ahluwalia previously worked as an analyst with Dubai-based PE firm Abraaj Group. Maniego worked as a consultant with companies like Alvarez & Marshal, PwC and EY.

Jai Kisan is building a full-stack fintech platform to cater to the financial needs of people in rural areas. To facilitate the loans to people, the startup follows a B2B2C model and partners with businesses that sell inputs,

equipment or procure buyers, processors, dairies, poultries across the agri, dairy and poultry value chains. 

It disbursed over Rs 50 crore to over 5,500 borrowers from various income groups across 10 states in the past six months.

Rajesh Ranjan, CEO of Nabventures, said the investment firm will continue to invest in startups that are at the forefront of agricultural and rural transformation in India.

A slew of tech startups focused on agriculture has attracted funding from investors in the past months. A bunch of VCs VCCircle spoke with had said that startups in the agri space would benefit from the coronavirus pandemic.

Just earlier in the day, agri-tech startup Concinnity Agro2o Pvt. Ltd raised funding from Mumbai Angels Network.

Last month, Intello Labs raised Series A funding led by Saama Capital. In April, Bijak raised nearly $12 million in its Series A funding round led by Russian venture capital firm RTP Global while DeHaat scooped up $12 million in its Series A round led by Sequoia Capital India.

Investors

Arkam Ventures was founded in 2017 by Rahul Chandra, formerly managing director of Helion Venture Partners, and Bala Srinivasa, formerly a partner at Kalaari Capital.

Earlier this month, it marked the first close of its debut fund that seeks to raise a total of Rs 700 crore ($93 million).

The VC firm's two other known investments are: microlending platform KrazyBee and online marketplace for food and grocery Jumbotail.

Nabventures had floated a Rs 700 crore (about $100 million) venture capital fund to invest in rural and agriculture-focused startups last year.  

This was the first time Nabard has launched a fund of its own. Until then Nabard had been investing in other VC funds as a limited partner.

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