And there’s more capital in the food-tech space. Chef’s Basket, a read-to-cook food startup has raised $6 million in a fresh funding round from SAIF Partners and Haresh Chawla. Haresh is a partner at India Value Fund Advisor is also an existing investor in the company, in his personal capacity.
As per the founder of the company, it has raised the money by issuing fresh equity to the investors and Vishal Sood, partner at SAIF partners will represent the fund on the board of the startup.
The company will now use the funds to expand its range of products along with the expansion of its distribution channels. It is currently selling read to cook food packages.
Varun Jhawar, co-founder of Fizzy Foodlabs, the parent company of Chef’s Basket, said,
This funding will help us take Chefs Basket to the next level of growth and we plan to expand the brand to the top 15 cities of India, with a portfolio of 30 SKUs (stock keeping units) by the end of March 2016.
Chef’s Basket is currently offering Italian, Mexican, Oriental and Thai dishes in two ready to cook formats. The pricing ranges from Rs 75 to Rs. 300. It plans to expand its portfolio by introducing single serve format in oriental cuisine, a range of fresh products with lower shelf life and also launch its own range of pasta sauces.
It was founded by Varun Jhawar, along with Nipun Katyal in August 2012 and Manish Tirthani joined them a year later. The company claims to be selling about 1.3 lakh units of single serve packs a month and almost 90% of the sales come from hypermarkets.
It targets to ramp up sales to 4-5 lakh units a month by March 2016. To do so, the company has partnered with many e-commerce websites including Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, BigBasket, Paytm and Grofers, along with supermarket chains Hypercity, D-Mart and Big Bazaar to sell its products. However, about 75% of the sales comes through modern trade route.
Nipun Katyal, co-founder of the company, said,
We entered a white space category where there are not many competitors. World cuisine as a segment is booming in the Indian food service space and we wanted to bring these cuisines into the homes of the end users.
The chefs have been associated with famous restaurants like Little Italy, Spaghetti Kitchen, Sancho’s, Renaissance (Fratelli Fresh) and India Jones (Trident).
Along with expanding its offerings, the company is also planning to expand its team for marketing, sales and operations. It is going to set-up a research and development unit as a pilot plant in Mumbai.
By January 2016, the company will be selling its new ranges of Italian food products offerings in South Africa, Canada and Australia, said Manish Tripathi, co-founder of the company.
The read to cook food market in India is estimated to be around Rs. 2,900 crore and is expected to grow 20% to 25% every year over the next five years. This market has been dominated by Nestle, HUL and ITC.