BASF Venture Capital GmbH (BVC), the investment arm of German chemicals major BASF, on Tuesday said it is investing in Indian hydroponic cultivation startup UrbanKisaan.
Without disclosing details, BVC said its investment in UrbanKisaan, which specialises in hydroponic cultivation of various types of vegetables, greens and herbs in tropical urban environments, is its "first investment in an early stage business focusing on India".
Commenting on the investment, BASF Venture Capital GmbH Managing Director Markus Solibieda said, UrbanKisaan, as a pioneer in the hydroponics space, has developed a unique growing method and combines this with a compelling business model for sales.
"We look forward to learning more about hydroponic farming and exploring its potential through a close collaboration between UrbanKisaan and BASF''s agriculture experts," he added.
Solibieda said agri-tech is one of the key investment focus areas of the BVC worldwide and "this includes, in particular, our goal of supporting innovative agricultural and food-related businesses in Asia."
Conceptualised in 2017, UrbanKisaan operates several suburban greenhouses and vertical indoor farms in Hyderabad and Bangalore. It sells the fresh produce, some of which is grown directly in the shops, in its franchise-owned brick-and-mortar stores and via an app and website.
With the investment from BASF, UrbanKisaan plans to further expand its market presence in India, deploy its farming technology to work with thousands of farmers, and bring fresh, local, sustainable produce to urban dwellers, the statement said.
"Our approach in hydroponics enables us to produce our food cost-effectively and with relatively little effort... Use of IoT (Internet-of-Things)-enabled technology for monitoring the farms ensures pesticide-free produce. The growing demand from our customers shows that our idea is well-received," UrbanKisaan Co-Founder and CEO Vihari Kanukollu said.