Zephyr, CapAleph invest in potato seeds firm Utkal Tubers
Photo Credit: Shah Junaid/VCCircle

Bengaluru-based potato seeds firm Utkal Tubers India Pvt. Ltd has raised Rs 30 crore (around $4.6 million) from Zephyr Peacock India Fund and CapAleph Indian Millennium SME Fund, according to a media report.

“We have taken controlling interest with this investment. We aim to create a good franchise for potato seeds as well as improve seed quality and variety in seed deficient states,” The Economic Times reported citing George Thomas, founder of CapAleph Indian Millennium SME Fund.

While Zephyr Peacock picked a stake in Utkal Tubers in October last year, CapAleph came in as an investor later. It could not be immediately ascertained if both Zephyr and CapAleph invested as part of the same funding round.

Email queries sent to CapAleph and Zephyr Peacock didn't elicit any response immediately. Utkal Tubers could not be contacted.

Utkal Tubers had said it will use the funds to produce high-quality mini-tubers in a tissue culture laboratory and multiply them in its own development farms and through supervised contract farming in different regions of the country.

The firm completed a year of operation in March 2017, producing 1,000 tonnes of potato seeds last year. This year it is targeting 5,000 tonnes.

According to Thomas, CapAleph—which is a Rs 100-crore fund— plans to invest in a startup that focuses on hardy crops such as millets, jowar and bajra in its next funding round.

Zephyr Peacock India manages local investments as part of the global PE network under Zephyr Management LLP. Zephyr Peacock India manages assets worth of $225 million across three funds. It has investments in application software provider Miles Software Solutions, telecom services provider Metro Wireless Engineering India, electric utilities provider Flareum Technologies and life sciences tools and services provider Aizant Drug Research Solutions, among others.

The vegetable seeds segment in the country has seen a few deals in the past. In January 2016, Siddhivinayak Agri Processing Pvt. Ltd, a Pune-based potato supply chain management company that operates as SV Agri, raised an undisclosed amount in its Series B round of funding led by impact venture capital firm Lok Capital.

In August, VCCircle reported that Hyderabad-based Nuziveedu Seeds Ltd, the country’s top private sector seeds company by revenues, was looking to refile documents to go public.

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