With the restaurant and food retail industry in India scrambling to recover post-pandemic, the food delivery and aggregator focus has squarely been on cloud kitchens. Foodtech Rebel Foods, which has 450+ kitchens & 4K+ internet restaurants globally across 60+ cities in 10 countries, has entered India’s unicorn club after raising $175 Mn in a Series F funding round.
The funding round has been led by Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and will be utilised for growing Rebel Foods’ international footprint, technology and brand acquisitions amid the resuscitating industry.
Apart from QIA, the sovereign wealth fund of the State of Qatar, existing investors Coatue and Evolvence also participated in the round taking the startup’s valuation to $1.4 Bn.
Founded in 2011 by Jaydeep Barman and Kallol Banerjee, Rebel Foods is parent to brands such as Faasos, Behrouz Biryani, Ovenstory Pizza, Mandarin Oak, The Good Bowl, SLAY Coffee, Sweet Truth, Wendy’s among others.
It operates multiple quick-service food brands independently, facilitating deliveries through its app or through online food delivery platforms like Zomato and Swiggy. The startup generates 50% of its demands through Zomato and Swiggy.
It claims to be moving towards profitability with annual run rate (ARR) sales of $150 Mn, growing 100% year-on-year (y-o-y). It is further eyeing an IPO in the next 18-24 months.
In FY20, ending in March last year, Rebel Foods’ revenue grew by 84% year-on-year (YoY) to INR 572 Cr, but its expenses shot up by 128% resulting in net loss growing 229% to INR 431 Cr in the year from INR 131 Cr in the previous fiscal.
The startup earns its operating revenue from the sale of food products and income from making home deliveries for orders received through its online portals.
Speaking of the funding, Ravi Golani, chief strategy officer, Rebel Foods stated that the foodtech space has evolved towards personalisation, innovation, and transparency which the startup continues to pioneer.
“We are excited to welcome QIA, which has a track record of being a long-term supportive investor. With this round of funding, we will continue to serve newer customer food missions powered by technology and automation,” he added.
A report by Google and Boston Consulting Group (BCG) showed that India’s online food ordering market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 25-30% to touch $7.5 Bn – $8 Bn by 2022.
Five Unicorns In 25 Days
In the last 25 days (September 16-October 7), five startups including Rebel Foods have turned unicorns, taking the total number of $1 Bn+ startups in India to 72, of which 30 turned out in 2021 alone.
• CoinSwitch Kuber, on October 6, announced the close of its Series C round at $260 Mn at $1.9 Bn valuation led by Coinbase Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), marking a16z’s first investment in India. Existing investors Paradigm, Ribbit Capital, Sequoia Capital India and Tiger Global also participated in the round. CoinSwitch is the second crypto unicorn in the Indian startup ecosystem.
• Gourmet meat startup Licious, on October 5, announced that it has raised $52 Mn in its Series G round led by IIFL AMC’s Late Stage Tech Fund, and other private equity investors. Avendus FLF (Future Leaders Fund) has also invested in this round. In the D2C meat category — a $40 Bn sector globally, and an untapped market in India — Licious is the first D2C foodtech unicorn.
• Online tutoring startup Vedantu raised $100 Mn on September 29, making it the fifth Indian edtech unicorn in India. The round was led by Singapore-based, Temasek-backed private equity firm ABC World Asia with participation from existing investors Coatue Management, Tiger Global, GGV Capital, and WestBridge.
• On September 16, Apna, a job marketplace for India’s blue-collar workers, became the fastest unicorn in India (20 months after its launch), after raising $100 Mn in a Series C round led by Tiger Global, along with participation from Owl Ventures, Insight Partners, Sequoia Capital, Maverick Ventures and GSV Ventures, at a valuation of $1.1 Bn.