[Investor Summit 2021] What successful founders must focus on: traction, team, and timing

As the centre of economic growth shifts towards Asia with more disposable income and greater technological innovation, India is in the spotlight with global players looking to gain a stake in various sectors like infrastructure, manufacturing, and healthcare. But away from the mainstream, offbeat opportunities for innovation and investment have also been getting attention.

Shreyansh Singhal, Investment Professional, Ankur Capital, and Radhika Agarwal, Investment Team, Blume Ventures, offered their insights on Offbeat yet high value sectors for investment in a panel discussion with Dr Madanmohan Rao, Research Director,

Speaking about the relevance of high-value offbeat sectors, Shreyansh gave the example of agritech in the early days of ecommerce and new-age business models.

“Back in 2014, a lot of sectors were being impacted by these new business models. One of the sectors that seemed not to be impacted significantly was agritech. It was new and nascent at that point, but we collectively decided to make an investment in a company called Cropin Technology Solutions.

” Today, Cropin has grown to about 14 million acres of farmland, impacting about 3.5 million farmers and more than 50-plus countries. “The sector got a huge tailwind, because at the end of the day, everybody has to eat,” Shreyansh said.

Ankur Capital recently also invested in a company that is not just digitising, but also creating a first-of-its-kind network of farmers and others in the agri ecosystem to come together and communicate.

Blume Ventures has also been investing in several niche areas with a sector-agnostic approach. “We have invested in everything from astrology for millennials and saving platforms for rural women to fashion rental,” said Radhika, adding that here had been some interesting market shifts in recent times.

“Whether it was COVID or the launch of Jio or UPI a couple years back, it has really changed how demand forces operated,” she said, explaining that ecommerce had benefited significantly with more things going online. This was buoyed with the launch of Jio, which meant that Tier II and III cities suddenly had better access to mobile internet and making for interesting new use cases.

“Looking at how these market forces have continuously been changing over the last couple of years, we now have an interesting breakdown with investment team members willing to spend 40 percent of their time studying new sectors looking at what’s out there,” she added.

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