Introducing plant tissue culture to Nepal, FICUS Biotech- one of the companies from the second batch of Rockstart Impact is dedicated to address and solve the problem of unavailability of good quality plants through tissue culture technology. Keeping in mind the ever booming agriculture sector in Nepal, Anuroop Manandhar, Durlav Karki and Santosh Dahal- graduates of Biotechnology got together in early 2015 to make a viable business from what they learned in university that would also create a social impact.
One of the most promising companies from the second batch of Rockstart Impact, FICUS Biotech recently signed their term sheet with Purplefield Investment, an investment firm from the Netherlands. I sat down with Anuroop Manandhar, co-founder of FICUS Biotech to share his enthusiasm and excitement with all of you!
1. How do you feel about signing the deal?
We are ecstatic about everything that is happening with FICUS recently. We feel that we found an amazing investor who believes in our business and is committed to work with us to make it a success!
2. What are your milestones in the coming days?
We were looking for an investment to expand our business for quite some time and Rockstart Impact gave us the right platform to shine. Our aim is to triple our sales and our revenue in the very first year and also to expand the product line.
3. How do you plan to scale your company with the investment?
We plan on establishing a new production unit which will enable us to expand our product volume and repertoire by many folds.
4. What does scaling mean for FICUS?
Scaling is an exciting word and it does mean a lot to FICUS. Firstly, it means being able to fulfil the demand that exists in the market which is not being accomplished currently. We hope that we will be able to introduce products and services faster that we could have done it ourselves. But, the growth chart that we are mapping out for FICUS is not just limited to the well-being for our company but to the agri-biotechnology sector of Nepal. Lack of quality seeds and plants available in Nepal is a major problem for the farmers and importing is not a solution.
5 Where do you see your company in the coming 5 years?
We see ourselves producing at least 10 value tissue culture plants in a large quantity which is currently being imported. We aim at being the company that provides disease diagnostic services for plants which is currently missing in the market. We also see ourselves as an instigator to promote commercial agriculture in Nepal.
6. Do you feel like your time in Rockstart Impact was well invested?
The time spent at Rockstart Impact was very valuable for our company. First, the program allowed us to think strategically about the company’s direction and means to achieve it. The mentors were very helpful and grilled us so that we could think outside the box. Second, the networking provided by frequent programs allowed us to connect with many well known business people and entrepreneurs from Nepal. In fact, we got several clients through Rockstart Impact’s network. Third, the opportunity to pitch in front of an international investor and to be able to secure an investment is like a dream come true.
7. How did Rockstart Impact help you polish your business and pitch for investment?
We did not have experiences when it came to pitching or preparing a financial forecast for our company. With constant drills and feedback sessions, we were able to bring out the pitch. The final pitches of the 10 companies were significantly better including ours compared to the first draft and it was a great experience all together!