Keeping its commitment of doubling farmers’ income, Aavishkaar, the pioneering impact fund advisory firm and part of the Aavishkaar-Intellecap Group, through its Aavishkaar Bharat Fund has committed Rs350 million in Kottaram Agro Foods, a Bangalore based packaged foods startup that markets its products under the brand ‘Soulfull’.
“The tangential outcome of Soulfull products is increase in demand of ancient grains that will address problems of marginal Indian farmers and reduce environmental stresses on land since these grains can grow in arid areas, are pest resistant and need minimal fertilizers”, said Vineet Rai, MD of Aavishkaar.
In 2011, Kottaram Agro Foods was founded to bring back the goodness of India’s ancient grains in innovative product forms. The startup is recognized by the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, an agency which works with state governments and leading research institutions to promote Smart Foods which are good for consumers, the planet and the farmers. Soulfull caters to the increasing number of Indians who are shifting to a more health conscious lifestyle and who are buying into brands that are honest and natural.
Soulfull brings traditional grains such as millets back to the consumer in modern avatars. The company processes Ragi (finger millet) into tasty, delicious and healthy breakfast and snack options such as flakes, Ragi bites, muesli and ready-to-cook oat-millet meals. Soulfull has conceptualized innovative products that address the need for nutrition and convenience in a wide range of tastes and textures such as ‘Ragi Bites Choco fills’, ‘desi muesli chatpata’, ‘oats millet masala’, etc. The brand’s summer launch ‘Smoothix’, an enjoyable, high protein, healthy drink made out of 12 natural grains will be the first of its kind and will mark Soulfull’s entry into the beverages category.
On the company's first institutional investment, Prashant Parameswaran, MD and CEO of Kottaram Agro Foods said, “There are immense opportunities in the packaged foods industry in India which is growing rapidly at 20 to 25 percent. The partnership with Aavishkaar will help Soulfull strengthen its product portfolio, accelerate marketing and expand its distribution reach to over 50,000 retail outlets in the next 3 years.”
In November 2017 Aavishkaar had raised $95 million in first close of its $200 million “Aavishkaar Bharat Fund”; Kottaram is the fund’s second investment. The fund is targeting early-to-mid stage investment opportunities in sectors such as healthcare, agriculture, clean technology, education and financial inclusion.
Aavishkaar, a part of the Aavishkaar-Intellecap group, is one of the global pioneers in impact investing, taking an entrepreneurship based approach to development. Aavishkaar has gone on to make more than 58 equity investments, across sectors and geographies and has raised six funds, delivering commercial returns with close to $300 million assets under management.
Aavishkaar's unique approach has resulted in its invested enterprises impacting over 70 million lives and creating over 250,000 jobs and livelihoods. Aavishkaar started its journey in India and invests across South Asia and South-East Asia. Aavishkaar is now considering launching its seventh fund in Africa.