VC firm Fireside Ventures has 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.
Founded by former Helion Venture Partners senior Managing Director Kanwaljit Singh in 2014, the firm has already raised $27.9 Mn (INR 180 Cr) to back early-stage startups in the FMCG space. The fund is aiming to raise a total of $46.5 Mn (INR 300 Cr) within six months.
Commenting on the investment, Kanwaljit Singh stated, “A large composition of the fund will be Indian family offices, who found resonance in what I wanted to do.” Other key investors in the fund include Kolkata-based consumer goods company Emami and WestBridge Capital. Avendus Wealth Management is advising Fireside for the fundraise.
Fireside plans to build a portfolio of about 30 companies, in which it will invest about $155K (INR 1 Cr) to begin with. Depending on the portfolio company’s progress, it will increase the total investment in each startup to about $2.32 Mn (INR 15 Cr). In January this year, Fireside invested in online tea brand Vahdam Teas along with Mumbai Angels Network and Singapore Angel Network. Last year, it had invested in Bengaluru-based on-demand online coffee shop, DropKaffe. It also invested in Delhi-based Indulge Beverages, maker of premium tea and coffee capsules under brand Bonhomia in 2015.
Kanwaljit, who has spent a decade in a marketing role at global FMCG conglomerate Hindustan Unilever, told ET that he believes that startups in this space do not have a lot of funding options at an early stage, but can be built in a capital-efficient manner. His angel investments portfolio includes Paperboat drinks maker Hector Beverages, ice cream brand Hokey Pokey and online meat delivery startup Licious.
He added, “Brands have till now been built by either multi-national corporations or companies that are family-owned, but now we are seeing them being built by first-generation entrepreneurs.”
Besides, Fireside Ventures, other funds focussing in 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.
This development was first reported in ET.