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Pioneering Ventures acquires agri-tech firm Lateral Praxis
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Switzerland-based agri-food investment firm Pioneering Ventures has acquired Lateral Praxis, marking its first bet in the Indian agriculture technology space.

Mumbai-based Lateral Praxis, launched in 1999 by Suniti Gupta, provides analytical and reporting dashboards, combined with real-time field data acquisition services allowing agribusinesses, retailers, distributors and manufacturers to monitor trends, track history, and ensure currency throughout the supply chain.

“Our experience and core competencies will be augmented well by Pioneering Ventures’ expertise and presence across the food supply chain, helping us jointly scale up our solutions and delivery," said Gupta.

The company boasts of a public and private sector client across several sectors including engineering, manufacturing, agriculture, cement, shipping, management services, retail, readymix concrete, tiles, textiles, BPOs, NBFC, electrical appliances, chemical, petrochemicals and pharma among others.

Pioneering Ventures focuses on building greenfield ventures in the agriculture and food supply chain sector in India.

Last year, Pioneering Ventures took complete control of Desai Fruits & Vegetables Pvt. Ltd, an agri-food company that it had incubated more than a decade ago.

Desai Fruits was set up by founder Ajit Desai in 2002. Pioneering Ventures incubated the company in 2007 as its first venture in India. The company was turned into a joint venture in 2011 with Deepak Fertilisers buying a 49% stake for Rs 60.77 crore and taking management control.

Besides Desai Fruits, it has established three ventures—Citrus Processing India Pvt. Ltd, FarmLink Agri Distribution and Market Linkage Pvt. Ltd and MilkLane Dairy Services Pvt. Ltd. All four ventures have a holding company abroad which invests directly in operating firms in India.

Agri-tech startups

The agri-tech segment has recorded growing interest from strategic players and investors, as they seek to address gaps in India’s agricultural market and provide fair economic incentives to farmers and other stakeholders.

Early this month, artificial intelligence-focussed agricultural technology startup Intello Labs Pvt. Ltd raised Rs 45 crore in its Series A funding round led by new investor Saama Capital.

Last month, 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.

Clover Ventures Pvt. Ltd, which operates an agricultural-technology firm focussed on providing greenhouse-grown fresh produce, snagged $5.5 million in its Series A funding round from Omnivore in February. It also raised Rs 7 crore in venture debt from Alteria Capital this month.

In January, agriculture enterprise resource planning platform FarmERP raised Series A funding from software company TechnoGen IT Services India Pvt. Ltd.

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