Agriculture is a source of livelihood for approximately 65% of Indian population and a key driver for economic growth. However, 70% of the 90 million households who rely on agriculture for a living in India spend more money than they earn each month.

Upaya's 2018 accelerator program is focusing on the agribusiness industry in India. The cohort includes 11 entrepreneurs who are working to scale their early-stage job-creating companies. The goal of our program is to identify and support businesses who are building livelihoods for the extreme poor, each with a vision of improving the lives of at least 1,000 people within three years. 


In May 2018, Upaya announced the companies participating in the 2018 agribusiness cohort. 

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  1. FibSol An ag-tech company aimed at promoting and redefining farming in a more organic and eco-friendly way by using innovative bio-fertilizers.

  2. Aikya Organics A seed to fork company selling organic products grown and processed by 1200 small and marginal farmers to urban families.

  3. ONganic An organic social enterprise bringing profitability for small-holder farmers through introduction of organic cultivation of high premium products and developing a seed to shelf value chain.

  4. Rural Roots A food processing enterprise creating large-scale employment for women below the poverty line in and around Deoria with a focus on food products.

  5. Happy Roots A national award-winning company that creates delicious high-nutrition snacks in partnership with small farmers and rural women.

  6. Gramshree A company working with tribal families to increase the value of their produce by intervening in developing value chains and marketing.

  7. Go Desi An Indian packaged confectionery brand inspired by regional flavors and formats sourced, packed and branded at the farm gate.

  8. Laymen Agro A dairy company bringing village-fresh products to urban kitchens by ensuring the lion's share of the consumer's price goes back to the rural economy.

  9. ZooFresh An enterprise leveraging innovative post harvest technologies and retailing platforms to eliminate waste, enhance consumer health & delight, and increase farmer incomes.

  10. Taank Brothers An enterprise focused on breeding indigenous chickens with the involvement of the local tribal community, providing self-sustainable employment and livelihood opportunities.

  11. Yasasree Viroha A company creating shared value from small fruit waste to create alternative livelihoods for small farmers and women workers.


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Amit Antony Alex, Upaya India Country Director
Nathan Byrd, Upaya Board and most recently Head of Global Programs at Opportunity International
Kate Cochran, Upaya CEO
Patricia Devereux, Upaya Board Chair
Sharmila Rathinam, Upaya Board Vice Chair and Real Estate Developer
Sachi Shenoy, Upaya Chief Impact Officer and Co-Founder
Gwen Straley, Executive Director, 3rd Creek Foundation
Caroline Vance, Director, Deutsche AM Global Social Finance Group


2018 Investment Committee

Patricia Devereux, Upaya Board Chair
Abhilash Mudaliar, Research Director at the Global Impact Investing Network
Brooke Randall, Co-Founder and Principal at Agriculture Capital
Sharmila Rathinam, Upaya Board Vice Chair and Real Estate Developer
Gwen Straley, Executive Director, 3rd Creek Foundation
Caroline Vance, Director, Deutsche AM Global Social Finance Group
Upaya Leadership Team: Kate Cochran, Amit Antony Alex and Sachi Shenoy