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Impact investor Acumen Fund backs agri-tech firm Kheyti
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Kheyti Tech Pvt. Ltd, an agricultural-technology firm focussed on improving the yields and income of small farmers, has raised funding from impact investor Acumen Fund.

Acumen said in a statement it invested in Telangana-based Kheyti along with existing backer Ceniarth. It didn’t disclose the amount it invested.

US-based Ceniarth is a single-family office focussed on underserved communities by funding non-profit, for-profit and hybrid organisations. It has been investing in Kheyti since 2018, with this capital infusion marking its third bet.

The startup was set up by Kaushik K, Sathya Raghu Mokkapati, Saumya and Ayush Sharma in 2015.

Its products include Greenhouse-In-A-Box (GIB), a modular solution that requires an eighth of an acre of land and comes with services including farm inputs, financial and technical support, and access to markets.

Kheyti says the integrated aspects of GIB also provide small farmers with resilience to the impacts of climate change and allows them to grow crops throughout the year while earning a higher income. Currently, 300 farmers in Telangana are using this solution.

The startup will use the capital raised from Acumen Fund and Ceniarth to meet its objective of installing 5,000 such products in the next two years.

“Kheyti exists to build long-term resilience in small farmers. We started on this mission because of climate change, but the [coronavirus] pandemic has made our work even more relevant,” Kaushik K said.

Separately, Acumen India country director Mahesh Yagnaraman said the impact firm was confident of its investment because of its societal and product focus and the strength of its founding team.

Acumen

The impact investor – founded by Jacqueline Novogratz in 2001 – says it invests patient capital in businesses that help in transforming the lives of underprivileged sections of society.

So far, Acumen says it has invested over $132 million in companies across the world, including in the US, South Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Last month, the Acumen Fund led a pre-Series A funding round in Haqdarshak Empowerment Solutions Pvt. Ltd, which operates a startup focussed on the delivery of government financial schemes and citizens.

In June, VCCircle reported that Acumen had marked a full exit from a nine-year-old investment operating in the solar energy sector.

In October last year, it invested an undisclosed amount in the Pune- and Boston-based Promethean Power Systems Inc., a refrigerated solutions provider. The investment was made from its Pioneer Energy Investment Initiative – a $20 million fund.

Other companies in its India portfolio include work-integrated job training provider LabourNet, Grameen Impact, distribution company Frontier Markets and emergency medical services provider Ziqitza Healthcare Ltd.

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