New Ventures India (NVI), a Hyderabad-based group that facilitates investment in young businesses that help sustain the environment, showcased 11 finalists (chosen from approximately 150 applicants) and several other start-ups at its 16-17 November investor forum. The goal of this second annual competition was to spotlight fundable businesses in the nascent ‘green’ sector, which includes areas such as clean technology, renewable energy, and water management.
Kabirdass Motor managing director Murali Kabirdass
This contest ran parallel to various panel discussions on the difficulty of finding fundable businesses in this sector, particularly those looking for seed or venture capital investment usually under $10 million (Rs39.3 crore), despite the large and growing interest from investors. NVI seeks to grow the pipeline of fundable companies by finding and mentoring them, which was its aim when it featured companies such as these. The following companies are three of the five winners:
Company: Kabirdaas Motor Co. Pvt. Ltd
Product: electric bikes
The Chennai-based company’s latest Xite bike model costs Rs45,000, goes 60km per hour and up to 60km after being plugged into electricity for 8-12 hours. Four other models cost 20-40% less and go the same distance with the same charge but at 25km per hour. The company was created to diversify 30-year-old auto component aluminium die casting company Best Cast IT Ltd. Murali Kabirdass, managing director of the electric bike company, said despite five other competitors, he aims to almost quadruple his capacity in the next 10 months after selling more than 600 units in the first 10 months.
Company: Nandan Biomatrix Ltd
Product: Jatropha-based biodiesel
This company aims to build on its crop-to-product business that it has grown for 11 years in the nutraceuticals (herbal plant-based medicines) business. Its farmer-as-franchisee model involves training farmers on growing the necessary plants and guaranteeing purchase. The four partners of this Hyderabad-based company will apply this model for growing the non-edible, fast growing jatropha plant, and using it to produce biodiesel—a business that has high start-up costs.
Company: Zameen Organic Pvt. Ltd
Product: fair trade, organic yarn and fabric
Gijs Spoor was working in India for a Dutch development organization, Solidaridad, in 2003 where he got the idea to create a supply chain of farmers to sell yarn, fabric and garments. He supplies companies worldwide that are brandedas organic and fair trade, which means that farmers were paid a minimum price and that the community was provided benefits such as development projects.
Spoor said he seeks funding for marketing and geaning, separating the lint from the seed, in order to grow.