Early stage investment firm Fireside Ventures has successfully closed its first fund with a corpus of $52.12 Mn (INR 340 Cr). The VC firm now aims to invest in 20-25 consumer brand businesses from this fund over the next two to three years.
The fund has been anchored by a clutch of investors including Premji Invest, Westbridge Capital, Mariwala Family Office, Unilever Ventures, Emami Ltd., RP-Sanjiv Goenka Family Office, Sunil Munjal’s Hero Enterprise Investment Office and ITC Ltd.
With this, Fireside Ventures has also set up its advisory board which comprises Amit Agarwal, Senior VP Amazon and Country Manager India, Harsh Mariwala, Chairman, Marico Ltd, and Sri Rajan, Chairman, Bain & Company India.
Commenting on the development, Kanwaljit Singh, Managing Partner, Fireside Ventures stated, “The rhythm of consumer brand businesses is unique and requires an investor with a different DNA. The union of digital proliferation and demand for consumer brands is creating new opportunities and business models that will allow multiple new brands to be built in India more efficiently and in faster timeframes. It is this trend in the consumer brand space that lights up Fireside Ventures, we see this as a big opportunity and stand committed to introduce, mentor and promote brands in this space.”
Launched in 2017, Fireside Ventures is an early stage investment platform which focusses on consumer brand businesses. The fund is led by Kanwaljit Singh, Vinay Singh and VS Kannan Sitaram and provides early-stage capital (from seed to Series A), in addition to access to also a unique support ecosystem.
In June 2017, Fireside Ventures had secured backing for its maiden fund from some of India’s top family offices including Wipro promoter Azim Premji’s PremjiInvest, consumer goods maker Marico’s Mariwala and the RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group.
The early stage VC has primarily invested in consumer brands across sectors such as food and beverages, personal care, lifestyle and home products, etc. Fireside Ventures’ current portfolio includes Yoga Bar, Samosa Singh, Goodness Beverages, Design Café, Bombay Shaving Company, Mama Earth, Vahdam Teas, Kwik 24, Magic Crate and Frog Bikes.
Besides, Fireside Ventures, other funds focussing on the same space include DSG Consumer Partners and Sixth Sense Ventures. Recently, another Helion Venture Partner, MD Rahul Chandra floated a new venture capital fund called Unitary Helion. The new fund will focus on deals in the financial technology space.
The Fireside Ventures’ portfolio companies also get access to ‘Fireside Circle’- comprising a strong fund team of consumer brand building experts, deep domain specialist mentors and a partner network which will help companies in areas like brand building, distribution, manufacturing, digital marketing, etc. averred Kanwaljit.
Commenting on their investments, VS Kannan Sitaram stated, “While investing in a consumer brand, we primarily look upon the space, the specific idea of the startup and the quality of entrepreneurs.”
According to the Kanwaljit, there has been a secular shift in the consumer buying behaviour. The new consumer class i.e. the millennial shopper is looking for values from their products like authenticity, clean labels, ethical sourcing and production etc. They are attuned to spending on brands which are unique in catering to their personal preferences.
The early stage VC firm Fireside Ventures is now focussing to invest in some 20-25 startups in the course of next two-three years, depending upon startups’ consumers and consumer value proposition.