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Sunday, November 28, 2021

New Fund & Accelerator to Boost Alternative Protein Market in India

Big Idea Ventures, Ashika Group and Good Food Institute India have begun raising a $25m fund for India, and will start receiving applications for the Mumbai-based accelerator in 2021.

Alternative Protein segment is gaining a lot of traction in India, and a new announcement has made it even more promising. US based Big Idea Ventures (BIV), along with India-based financial services firm Ashika Group and Good Food Institute India (GFI India), have jointly rolled out ‘The India Alternative Protein Fund’. This fund will run an accelerator in 2021 to give a boost to “companies focused on bringing to market innovative plant-based, fermentation-derived, and cultivated meat, seafood, egg, and dairy foods – upgraded versions of their animal-derived counterparts, but with a tiny fraction of the land use, water use, and climate change challenges, and without the risk of pandemics and zoonotic disease.”

The alternative protein market in India is still in an infancy stage but is steadily growing, especially in metros and tier-1 cities. This upward trend is mainly driven by the change in mindset of consumers, who want to adopt a healthier lifestyle while also doing their bit for the planet. Today, we see a lot of Indian and international brands bringing in a wide variety of plant-based proteins. The shift towards vegan protein products is also fuelled by endorsement of such products by top celebrities, sportspersons and environmentalists. The Covid-19 pandemic has also brought to the limelight the risk of zoonotic diseases, which might give a push to the uptake of alternative proteins. Making consumers aware of the wide range of alternative proteins available in the market is the key to take this market to the next level.

BIV operates a $50 million international fund and two accelerators in New York and Singapore, with prior investments in over 20 companies including India’s Evo Foods. They worked with an alternative protein expert think tank and ecosystem builder GFI India for over a year to evaluate the India opportunity and build an investment thesis focused on building the Indian vegan ecosystem, and joined leading financial services firm Ashika Group to manage the investment fund. Ashika Group runs businesses including brokerage, lending, wealth management, investment management, as well as an investment bank, and has helped numerous Indian companies in the food & beverage sector raise funding and scale their operations.

The two firms have begun raising the $25m fund for India, and expect to begin accepting applications for the Mumbai-based accelerator in 2021. They will provide entrepreneurs with funding, critical handholding and mentorship, and access to an Indian and international network of corporate partners, restaurateurs, retailers, and other investors. GFI India will continue to provide support in the form of expert advisory and network building.

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