Mumbai-based health food brand The Whole Truth(TWT), has raised a $6 Mn Series A funding round led by Sequoia Capital India with participation from existing investors Matrix Partners India and Sauce.Vc. Marquee angels like Kalyan Krishnamurthy (Flipkart), Sujeet Kumar (Udaan), and Ashneer Grover and Shashvat Nakrani (BharatPe) also participated in the round.
Existing angel investors of the company include Nithin Kamath (Zerodha), Sriharsha Majety (Swiggy), and Jaydeep Burman (Rebel Foods). The company had previously raised $1.5 Mn. The company stated that this fresh capital will be used to hire high-calibre talent, expand its manufacturing capabilities and enter new food categories, where consumers currently do not get high-quality, clean food options. In addition, it will also focus on building its content portfolio which is a major part of the brand.
Founded in 2019 by Shashank Mehta, an ex-Unilever marketeer, The Whole Truth is the result of his life-long struggle with obesity, and the realisation that the main culprit was unhealthy packaged food, loaded with hidden sugars and chemicals, masquerading as healthy. The company claims to have grown 12x in the last 18 months with a community base of over 200,000 brand followers. They have about 30 employees and plan to add 20 more in the next six months.
“The immense consumer love we’ve garnered in just 18 months of existence, has shown us how deeply consumers resonate with the problem we’re solving. And with partners like Sequoia Capital India, plus several amazing founder-angels joining our mission, we’re all set to turbocharge this crusade — and hopefully set packaged foods right in the process,” said Mehta.
It claims to have disrupted the bars and muesli categories, with 100% clean-labels disclosing all ingredients that go into the products.
“Sequoia Capital India is thrilled to partner with Shashank and the rest of the team at The Whole Truth. They have a simple yet very powerful mission of making 100 percent clean-label food. We have been very impressed with the customer’s love for their early set of products and excited about the journey ahead,” Abhishek Mohan, Principal, Sequoia India.
The startup banks on content outreach through social media to help consumers understand and decode their food choices. It has recently extended its presence to Youtube to expand the content offering. However, since it does not have celebrity endorsers and most content is organically produced, Mehta told Inc42 that the content does not comprise a major part of the expenses.
“We are ‘contribution margin’ profitable, i.e. our products are profitable and we are only burning cash on hiring new talent and improving our portfolio,” he added.
Mehta added that the company hopes to hit INR 90-100 Cr annual recurring revenue (ARR) in another two years and will consider the next round of funding after reaching the milestone.
Currently The Whole Truth witnesses 50% of its sales through its own website and the remaining from third party ecommerce channels. It has a customer retention rate of 50% on its website.
“It’s been a privilege to partner early with Shashank, and to watch his vision come to life right from the pre-launch, concept stage to today. The consumer love for The Whole Truth products and brands is incomparable and among the highest in the country, across categories. More broadly, Shashank’s mission to upend the traditional CPG world is truly exciting. We look forward to the next phase of growth and welcome Sequoia Capital India to the partnership!” commented Sanjot Malhi, Director, Matrix India.
Rachna Aggarwal, a bakery chef and chocolatier with over 15 years of relevant experience, heads the startup’s product development and is the person behind the category-changing products, said the company. The company has one manufacturing unit in Mumbai and all the production is managed by a team of 70-odd women, said Mehta.
“As a brand investor, from the day it was just an idea, it has been an easy marriage of minds with Shashank. The brand gets so much love because you don’t have to sell the truth. It’s what today’s consumers want and expect from brands, especially when it comes to food. The Whole Truth has got that right and we are excited to continue backing this ideology,” Manu Chandra, Founder, Sauce.vc.
Besides The Whole Truth, some of the other FMCG D2C brands in the health snacks space include Forbidden Foods, Yogabars, Myprotein, Choko La, RiteBite, Rine, Eat Any Time among others.