Social Venture firm, Aavishkaar Ventures Management has committed $5.3 Mn (INR 35 Cr) in Bengaluru-based packaged foods company, Kottaram Agro Foods from its Aavishkaar Bharat Fund.
Kottaram Agro Foods supplies its products to the market under the brand ‘Soulfull’ which brings traditional grains such as millets back to the consumer in modern avatars.
Commenting on the funding, Prashant Parameswaran, MD and CEO of Kottaram Agro Foods said, “There are immense opportunities in the packaged foods industry in India which is growing rapidly at 20-25%. The partnership with Aavishkaar will help Soulfull strengthen its product portfolio, accelerate marketing and expand its distribution reach to over 50,000 retail outlets in the next 3 years.”
Soulfull has conceptualised innovative products that address the need for nutrition and convenience in a wide range of tastes and textures such as ‘Ragi Bites Choco fills’, ‘desi muesli chatpata’, ‘oats millet masala’, etc.
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Speaking on the development, Vineet Rai, MD of Aavishkaar, said, “The tangential outcome of Soulfull products is increase in demand of ancient grains that will address problems of marginal Indian farmers and reduce environmental stresses on land since these grains can grow in arid areas, are pest resistant and need minimal fertilizers.”
Soulfull plans to enter the beverages category with the launch of ‘Smoothix’, a high protein, healthy drink made out of 12 natural grains.The company is a DIPP (Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion)-recognised startup that works with state governments and leading research institutions to promote Smart Foods which are good for the consumers, the planet and the farmers.
Aavishkaar Bharat Fund And Investments
Aavishkaar raised $95 Mn in the first close of its $200 Mn Aavishkaar Bharat Fund, in November 2017. The investment is the second from the fund, which is targeting early-to-mid stage investment opportunities in sectors such as healthcare, agriculture, clean technology, education and financial inclusion.
The firm is looking to attain the final close of the Aavishkaar Bharat Fund within the next 12 to 18 months.
Among the backers of the Aavishkaar Bharat Fund are large institutional investors like the UK government-run development finance institution CDC Group, Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) as well as family offices including that of Hero Enterprise Chairman Sunil Munjal, to a name a few.
Till now, Aavishkaar has made more than 50 investments at various stages of growth. The firm has raised six funds, delivering commercial returns with a total of about $201 Mn (INR 1300 Cr) under management.
After the investment in superfood company Kottaram Agro Foods’ Solufull, which other companies will benefit from the Aavishkaar Bharat Fund will be something to look forward to.