Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Agriculture - A New Frontier with Interesting CleanTech Opportunities

As I stand in the middle of a farmland somewhere in Baramati with a farmer who owns more than 40 acres of land there and see him smiling as his fortunes are changing, I wonder how much aware we are about this quiet revolution happening in agriculture in India. It is interesting to see that his land is today valued at close to one crore (10 million) rupees, his annual income per acre is more than fifty thousand rupees, his yield has increased by 2-3 times because of better seeds and drip irrigation, and his quality of life is much better than that of those in the so called plush urban dwellings. I have a strong inclination and urge to become a farmer as I stand there under the cool breeze and bright sun. Well, I cannot become a farmer now so I have decided to put more attention to agriculture investing and help the farming ecosystem in India in order that all farmers in India can smile like the one I met in Baramati.

Agriculture can be very distinctly divided into pre and post harvest spaces. The pre-harvest space includes inputs like seed, fertilizer, and pesticide from companies and the post harvest space includes procurement, processing, and marketing of agricultural produce. Both these spaces, especially the pre-harvest one is seeing a lot of activity principally in the seed and drip irrigation spaces. The post harvest space is still evolving but has the highest potential to grow as the warehousing, agriculture-logistics, and food-processing activities pick up. Also players like National Spot Exchange are creating platforms that will enable farmers get better price for agriculture commodities.

Agriculture in India is a more than 100 billion dollar market, which can easily double since our average yields are less than half of global averages. India has the highest arable land area next to the US, and therefore has a huge potential to become a global farm basket. Also with better irrigation and seeds, you can rotate crops multiple times in a year rather than 1-2 times, which can again increase the farm output of India.

But the fact is that agriculture in India is growing at a dismal annual average of 1-2 percent. There is lot of government involvement in agriculture, which hinders the growth of this sector. The farmers in India are among the least educated about different crop technologies and have limited access to capital. The farmer today gets only a minuscule share of the price of the farm produce. The subterranean water table in India is going down every year; 80 percent of the lands in Punjab and Rajasthan are already in a critical condition.

All these problems are also interesting opportunities if you sit down and think. Jain Irrigation captured it in drip irrigation, Monsanto in BT cotton, and players like Sohanlal in post harvest crop management. As a budding cleantech entrepreneur, this may be a space that could yield you more money and more satisfaction in the long run.

Manoj Gupta

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

CleanTech Mentoring Workshop on 19th March 2010 - Mumbai

TiE Mumbai in association with New Ventures India (NVI) and CII are pleased to announce a CleanTech Mentoring Workshop aimed at creating robust CleanTech businesses that combine entrepreneurial energy, professional expertise and sagacious advice to have serious growth and revenue potential.

Workshop Objectives
• Mentor CleanTech businesses and enable frank conversations on business
models, risks and collaboration
• Connect CleanTech entrepreneurs with investors and talent

Who is this workshop for?
• CleanTech Entrepreneurs – to engage for your Investment and Talent needs
• Larger CleanTech Companies to engage with Entrepreneurs and Talent
• Seasoned Entrepreneurs & Mentors – to join Advisory Boards
• Experienced Managers – to understand opportunities in this space
• Inventors, Researchers and Incubators – to collaborate with business

Target Sectors
Renewable Energy, Smart Grid & Energy Efficiency, Water, Waste Management/Recycling, Other Clean Technologies, Sustainable Agriculture and Eco Tourism

Workshop format
Pre – workshop:
CleanTech companies send in a brief profile, that will be vetted by a select group of seasoned entrepreneurs and mentors, by 11th March

At the workshop:
• Each company makes a 5 – 7 minute presentation
• Managers/Consultants/Mentors make 2 – 3 minute presentations on the services
they can provide to companies
• Post lunch, each company spends 30 minutes with a select group of mentors
(of your choice) on a focussed discussion

To Register:

Please drop a mail with a brief profile of your business to:
Shabnam : shabnam@tiemumbai.org
Phone : 022 – 42200106

Last date for registrations: 11th March ‘10

Manoj Gupta

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

CleanTech Agri - A framework

If you are interested in how cleantech impacts Agri in India, please see this ppt which I presented at CleanTech Forum in Delhi last year:


Manoj Gupta

Monday, January 11, 2010

City Meet - Bangalore - Manoj Gupta - Nexus Venture Partners

Hi all,

I will be in Bangalore on Friday and would like to meet entrepreneurs and professionals in Agri, Rural, Cleantech and Financial services sector. If you are interested in having coffee with me for half an hour, please drop me an email for a slot.

Date: Jan 15, 2010, Friday
Time: 2PM-5PM
Location: Barista‎ Coffee - Leela Palace Hotel, Airport Road, Kodihalli, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560008, India‎ - 080 41265329‎
RSVP: manoj@nexusvp.com

Let me know as soon as possible as slots fill fast!

Manoj Gupta
Nexus Venture Partners

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Largest Gathering of Cleantech Companies in India - Notes

TiE Hyderabad organized the ‘Largest Gathering of Cleantech Companies in India’. The conference was held in partnership with Nexus, SONG and New Ventures India. The event was a focused “no-frills” networking event of investors and entrepreneurs. The day was divided into 4 sections: Smart Grid, Energy Efficiency, Recycling and Renewable Energy. Companies operating in each area presented their business story in a small presentation to the audience and investors also talked about their investing interests.

Acumen Fund, Applied Materials, Atlas Advisory, Breathe Ventures, GEF, IDG, IFC(W), Lightspeed, Mumbai Angels, Nereus Capital, Siemens Venture Capital, SIDBI and YES Bank were the investors who attended apart, of course, from Nexus and SONG. That’s 15 investors all seriously interested in cleantech in India.

The morning sessions on Smart Grid and Energy Efficiency merged into each other as is the nature of business in this end of the Cleantech spectrum. Satyam, CEO of NeoSilica, who also played a key role in organizing the conference in his role as the TiE SIG head, presented the overall picture. The remote data collection and control idea was found in:
• Connect M, a IDG and Sasken company, develops applications that collect data remotely targeted at a broad set of businesses but also to utilities
• Autoboxx provides remote monitoring with respect to energy usage in air conditioned areas.
• Neureol which provides remote monitoring of infrastructure in telecom towers and power utilities.

The smart metering idea found resonance in:
• PowerMax Global which develops communication products that enable smart metering.
• Analogics which focuses on efficient metering and communication solutions.

The energy efficient theme was found in:
• Kakatiya Energy Systems develops lighting controls for energy efficient lighting.
• Unidyne which manufactures energy efficient air conditioning systems.
• NEST which manufacturers efficient solar lanterns.

The recycling section had the following highlights:
• E waste recycling by Ekoreco which has been one of the pioneers in this field and Greenscape. Inspite of the lack of mandatory regulation there is a market for several players in this field.
• Plastic waste to oil up-cycling by Samki Teck

The transportation sector was held up India’s pioneer in the area of electric bikes: Eko Vehicles.

The renewable energy section had several flavors. First among them was Biomass Gasification. The two presenters in this were Ankur Scientific, one of the technology pioneers in India and AllGreen Energy, which is using the technology for rural electrification.

The Biofuels section was led by Nandan, India’s leader in jethropa R&D and Indian Bio- Diesel Corporation, Baramati which is building local communities that will manufacture bio-diesel.

The hydro section had SCG India as the lone participant who is trying to develop micro hydro sites in Himachal Pradesh.

The solar section had representation from Nuetech Solar, the 4th largest player in the solar thermal area, Sharada with a broad range of products in solar and SuRe which is innovating in the solar PV area.

A presentation that was not enterprise or investor related was that of Ashok Das, representing World Bank InfoDev which explored the possibility of setting up a Innovation Center to foster and support the cleantech ecosystem.

We also had an interesting presentation from Higgs Advertising – building cleantech markets is a critical challenge.

The closing presentation of the day was made by Razvan Maximiuc of the Cleantech Group, who made the really sobering point that the pace of Cleantech in India did not match up either to the size of the opportunity or the requirements from a climate change standpoint.

Incidentally, that was probably the only time “Copenhagen” was mentioned in the conference. The challenges to cleantech entrepreneurship are closer to home.


Monday, December 7, 2009

Download National solar mission plan

You can download National Solar Mission Plan here


Biggest gathering of CleanTech companies in India - Hyderabad - Dec. 17, 2009

TIE Hyderabad along with New Ventures India, Nexus Venture Partners and SONG Advisors are organizing the biggest gathering of Cleantech companies in India. Here Cleantech companies will get a chance to meet and pitch to leading CleanTech investors and also meet other fellow Cleantech companies. You are cordially invited to attend this. Please register yourself as soon as possible. Also please see attached mailer.

Series: "TIE CleanTech SIG - India"
Event title: "Biggest Gathering of CleanTech Companies in India"
Date: Thursday, Dec. 17, 2009
Time: 9AM-6PM
Location: Marriot Convention Center
Opposite Hussain Sagar Lake,Tank Bund Road
Hyderabad, 500080 India
Phone: +91 40 27522999
Fees: Rs. 500 (TIE members), Rs. 1000 (Non-TIE members)
Website: http://www.tie-isbconnect.com/cleantech/
Registration: http://www.meraevents.com/event/tie_cleantech_hyderabad

9:00AM-1:00PM :: Renewable Energy Session – Presentation by 20 Renewable energy companies
1:00PM-2:00PM :: Lunch Break
2:00PM-4:00PM :: Energy Efficiency and Services – Presentation by 10 Energy Efficiency companies
4:00PM-5:00PM :: Recycling and Transportation Session – Presentation by 5 Recycling companies
5:00PM-6:00PM :: Smart Grid and M2M Session – Presentation by 5 Smart Grid Companies