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Exclusive: Omnivore Capital seed funds online insurance brokerage startup GramCover

14 November, 2016

Venture capital firm Omnivore Capital, which is in the process of raising its second India-focused fund, has made yet another investment in the rural sector, a person privy to the development told VCCircle.

The firm, which makes early-stage investments in agricultural and food technology companies, has backed GramCover, which is an insurance marketplace for the rural sector.

The person cited above said the investment firm has put in Rs 8 crore in the Delhi-based company, which was incorporated in March this year.

The person declined to comment further on transaction details. Email queries sent to GramCover and Omnivore Capital did not elicit any immediate response.

GramCover was founded by Neelam Kumar Gupta, Rishi Raj Vashisht and Nalin Rawal. The trio was associated with Noida- and Mumbai-based weather forecasting services provider Skymet Weather Services Pvt. Ltd before launching the venture.

Interestingly, Skymet had also raised funding from Omnivore Capital in 2011. The VC firm had picked up a little over 33% stake by putting in $1 million.

Omnivore Capital, which has received regulatory approval to raise its second India-focused fund from capital markets watchdog Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) this June, is targeting to make the first close by the end of this year.

Jinesh Shah, one of the co-founders of the firm, previously told VCCircle that the firm is aiming to raise $75 million (Rs 507 crore) compared with $50 million planned earlier. It will be doing around 20 investments and the upper limit of the deals can be between $5 million and $6 million.

Omnivore was co-founded by Shah and Mark Kahn in 2011. It counts Godrej Agrovet Ltd, a subsidiary of Godrej Industries Ltd, as one of its early investors. The company bets on sectors such as precision agriculture, Big Data and Internet of Things (IoT), farm automation, supply chain, food safety and nutrition, innovative food products and services, water management, rural energy, financial technology and financial inclusion.

Its portfolio companies from the first fund include weather forecaster Skymet, processed food firm Arohan Foods, on-farm diagnostic equipment manufacturer Eruvaka Technologies and IT and services startup Retigence Technologies.

The crop insurance sector hasn’t seen too many deals in the recent past. Agrochemical major UPL Ltd has acquired a 26% equity stake in Weather Risk Management Services (WRMS) for Rs 10 crore in cash.

However, of late, the farm-tech space in the country has witnessed several fundraising activities. CropIn Technology Solutions Pvt. Ltd, a Bengaluru-based company that makes farm management software and apps, has raised $2 million (Rs 13.4 crore) from Denmark’s Sophia Investment ApS.

In August, Mumbai-based startup Krishi Star raised an undisclosed amount in seed funding from a consortium of four investors led by Upaya Social Ventures and Artha Venture Challenge, along with 1to4 Foundation and an angel investor.

Another Mumbai-based startup Truce, run by White Shadow Technology Pvt. Ltd, raised 2.5 crore ($370,000) in an angel round of funding from Snapdeal co-founders Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal, Shaadi.com founder Anupam Mittal, InMobi co-founder Amit Gupta and others in January this year. Truce procures fruits and vegetables from farmers across Maharashtra and sells them to mid-large sized restaurant and hotel chains in Mumbai.

The online insurance brokerage space has also seen a handful of deals in the last two years. Mumbai-based Coverfox Insurance Broking Pvt. Ltd, which runs a portal for comparing and buying insurance online, has secured an undisclosed amount of funding from Catamaran Ventures, the private investment arm of Infosys’ co-founder NR Narayana Murthy.

In the online insurance comparison sector, Coverfox faces stiff competition from PolicyBazaar, which is planning to get listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange in the US.

PolicyBazaar had also raised around $40 million (Rs 248 crore then) in its Series D round of funding last year from PremjiInvest, the personal investment vehicle of Wipro chairman Azim Premji, and other investors including Tiger Global.

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Exclusive: Omnivore Capital seed funds online insurance brokerage startup GramCover

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