More than $322 million of private equity found its way into the food and beverages sector in the first half of 2018. This was way above the highest amount that the sector had raised - $214 million in 2014 – in the past four years. This year marked the first-ever control deal by General Atlantic in India in which it acquired 80% stake in Capital Foods, besides investments by Sofina SA in the maker of Bira brand of beer, IIFL backing Bikaji Foods, and Rabo Equity pumping money into Nature Bio Foods, to name a few deals.
The heavy flow of capital this year, incidentally, doesn’t include investments in the food-tech sector. Swiggy, for instance, became the second food-tech company to enter the unicorn club on the back of $210 million it raised from existing as well as new investors in June this year. And if media reports are to be believed, the food-tech company is set to raise another round. Besides, it has been reported that Amazon is planning to invest more than $500 million in food retailing. Uber and Ola are also making strides in the sector. Estimates suggest that the food-tech sector is set to grow from its current size of $700 million to $2.5 billion by 2021.
As one of the largest beneficiaries of the large size of the consumer market, the growing economy and disposable incomes, the food sector is undeniably on the growth path.
Meanwhile, agriculture, which has traditionally been neglected, is also beginning to see action as startups with diverse propositions are stepping in to solve big and small problems that farmers face. From automation to technology that helps boost productivity, better storage, market linkages and discovery of fair price, the sector has seen startups spring up in various domains with investors in tow.
The Food and Agri Summit being organized by News Corp VCCircle will sharply examine the developments in the sector. The Summit will be attended by leading food companies, food and agri tech entrepreneurs, PE, VC and early-stage investors as well as deal facilitators.