Nabard announces Rs700-cr venture capital fund for agri, rural startups

The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) on Monday announced a Rs700-crore venture capital fund that would provide equity support for agriculture and rural-focused startups.

Nabard has been contributing to other funds to provide support to agri-related ventures and improvement of rural livelihoods. This is the first time that the rural development bank has launched a fund of its own.
The fund has been launched by Nabventures, a subsidiary of Nabard, and has a proposed corpus of Rs500 crore with an option to retain over-subscriptions of Rs200 crore, called as the greenshoe option, an official statement said.
Nabard has given an anchor commitment for the fund, which will be investing across startups engaged in agriculture, food and rural development space, it said.
The fund announced its first closure but details of the investments done by Nabard and other limited partners, if any, were not immediately available.
The fund is expected to provide a big boost to investment ecosystem in the core areas of agriculture, food and improvement of rural livelihoods, Nabard chairman Harsh Kumar Bhanwala said.
Nabventures is now scouting for equity investments in asset-light, innovative, technology-led start-ups in its focus areas, the statement said.
Till now, Nabard has contributed Rs273 crore to 16 alternate investment funds, the statement said.
Nabard is now 100 per cent owned by the government, which has been focusing on startups through a slew of measures.