Investment and Startups

Climate-smart Deeptech Company Ecozen Raises $25 million, Led by Nuveen

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28 January 2023, Pune: Ecozen announced today it has raised $25 million of combined equity and debt capital.  The Series C equity portion was led by Nuveen and Dare Ventures (Coromandel International), with participation from the Export-Import Bank of India (India EXIM Bank), and existing investors Caspian and Hivos-Triodos Fonds (managed by Triodos Investment Management). Omnivore and IFA, early investors in Ecozen, achieved partial exits in this round. The debt portion was provided by Maanaveeya Development and Finance, Oxyzo, Northern Arc group, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank. 

Headquartered in Pune, India, Ecozen was founded by three IIT Kharagpur alumni, Devendra Gupta, Prateek Singhal, and Vivek Pandey. Ecozen develops climate-smart deep-tech solutions for motor controls, IoT, and energy storage. Applying these technology stacks to the agricultural sector, Ecozen has revolutionized cold chains (through its Ecofrost product line) and the irrigation industry (through its Ecotron product line), improving the incomes of 120,000+ farmers and helping decarbonize agriculture. The company has helped generate over 1 billion units of clean energy (kWh), saved over 20,000 metric tons of food loss, and reduced over 1 million tons of GHG emissions. 

Ecozen is on an accelerated growth path both domestically and internationally, where it aims to capitalize on a slate of successful projects by establishing itself as a trusted agri value chain participant in Africa and Southeast Asia. Ecozen will leverage Nuveen’s experience in scaling impact-oriented businesses to augment its commercial offering, and the funding from India Exim Bank will support the Company in its export-related activities.

The Company is also looking beyond the agricultural sector to accelerate the broader energy transition through its deep-tech expertise in energy storage, motor controls, IoT, and analytics. The company estimates the market size for its innovative technology stacks in India to grow to $25 billion by 2025.

“We are thrilled to successfully close this round and are excited to bring Nuveen, India Exim Bank, as well as other new investors, on board,” said Devendra Gupta, CEO, and Co-Founder at Ecozen. “As we expand beyond India and agriculture, we will continue to focus on profitable growth and sustainable technology solutions. Ecozen will aggressively expand production capacity and product range.”

“Nuveen seeks out companies that mitigate climate change, build resilience to its impacts, and provide high quality, affordable products, and services to the low-income consumer segment,” said Rekha Unnithan, Managing Director and Co-Head of Private Equity Impact Investing at Nuveen. “Ecozen has built products that do all three simultaneously – replacing diesel water pumps and fossil-fuel dependent coolers, improving drought resiliency for smallholder farms, and increasing farmer incomes. With Ecozen’s proven expertise in delivering climate-smart technology solutions, while maintaining profitability, together we will exponentially grow their impact globally and beyond agriculture.”

Nuveen is a pioneer in global impact investing with its first investment in this discipline dating back to the 1980s. The firm has since invested approximately $600 million in direct and indirect private equity capital across over 200 portfolio companies in alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The Nuveen Global Impact Strategy seeks to drive an inclusive transition to a low-carbon economy, targeting disruptive businesses that reduce waste and emissions, circularly use resources, and expand access to and reduce the cost of basic products and services for underserved consumers. 

“India Exim Bank through its Ubharte Sitaare Programme identifies Indian companies that are future champions with good export potential. Ecozen, with its innovative clean technology solutions, has potential in international markets. The support from India Exim Bank will boost the company’s efforts to enhance its export capabilities and explore additional business opportunities overseas,” said Harsha Bangari, Managing Director at Export-Import Bank of India.

Also Read: Millets & Organics -2023: Three-day International Trade Fair starts at Thripuravasini, Bengaluru

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