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Food-tech startup Innerchef bags $2.5 Mn from Japan HQed Mistletoe, others

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In a convoluted startup scenrio where food delivery startups have been facing a drought of investments, Innerchef has managed to add a fresh $2.5 million to its coffers. The latest round has been led by Japanese early-stage fund Mistletoe, with participation from Singapore-based M&S Partners and other existing backers.

With the influx of fresh funds, the company plans to focus on building a recognizable and reputable brand in four of its core markets — Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad. The company which has been modelled around the idea of cooking and delivering scrumptious, nutritious meals to its customers will also add more kitchens across these four locations.

With the aim of serving ready-to-eat meals to consumers, InnerChef was launched by a trio of co-founders, namely Rajesh Sawhney, Sanjeev Singhal and Bal Dighent in 2015. The company alongside acting as a delicious food discovery and delivery service, also runs a first-of-its-kind hyperlocal desserts marketplace ‘Indulge’ to serve happiness to its users. These desserts are prepared by home bakers and bakeries in each city.

It is currently serving desserts in South Delhi, Gurgaon and Bengaluru but plans to use a chunk of funds to expand to six cities in the coming months.

Desserts in InnerChef are taken care of by women entrepreneurs, who are mainly neighbourhood chefs. We are looking to enable 10,000 women entrepreneurs who can make a livelihood on our platform. We want to focus on the first four cities for the next six months,

says Innerchef co-founder and CEO Rajesh Sawhney.

Prior to the current funding round, the company has secured about $1.6 million in pre-series A funding from a cohort of marquee investors including the likes of Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma, redBus co-founder Phanindra Sama, founder Anupam Mittal and GOQii founder Vishal Gondal among others. Just months ago, InnerChef has also managed to bag an investment from former Snapdeal and current Messenger platform head Anand Chandrasekaran.

In March 2016, the company also picked up two foodtech startups, Flavour Labs in Gurgaon and EatOnGo in Bengaluru, to add to its arsenal. It was a signal towards the inpedent consolidation of the foodtech segment that is starving for investor traction and investment. Flavor Labs was acqui-hired to help the company enter the mobile kitchen segment, while EatOnGo was to help it expand its presence further in Bengaluru.

These acquisitions will help InnerChef deepen its offerings to the two of the fastest growing markets in India, National Capital Region and Bangalore. We are also acquiring awesome talent who share our passion for food and technology,

said Sawhney in a statement.

Mistletoe is a Japan-based investment firm founded and backed by Taizo Son, a serial entrepreneur and the youngest brother of SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son. It is described as a hub for startups and the overall entrepreneurial ecosystem, which not only provides learning opportunities to founders but also invests in them. Till date, it has led investments in some of the most valuable tech startup Garena, Zipline, Zoox, and Enevo among others. InnerChef is Mistletoe’s maiden investment in the Indian startup ecosystem.

A hands-on guy fascinated by new apps, technologies and enterprise products.

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