Chennai-based omnichannel meat and seafood brand TenderCuts has raised INR 110 Cr ($15 Mn) in a funding round led by a mid-market private equity fund Paragon Partners, with participation from agritech venture capital fund NABVENTURES.
It plans to use this funding to expand its operations, supply chain network and pursue organic as well as inorganic growth opportunities through acquisitions. The company will also invest this amount into scaling up its technology infrastructure to increase the accessibility of its product and services.
The company was founded in 2016 by Nishanth Chandran and raised its seed round back in $759K back in 2017. It provides freshly cut meat and seafood to customers through neighbourhood stores, which cater to both walk-in customers as well as online shoppers. Customers can buy meat or seafood within two hours of the first cut.
TenderCuts has about 25 stores in Chennai and Hyderabad. Its core product portfolio includes fresh chicken, mutton, seafood, marinades, pickles, and eggs along with a ready-to-eat/cook range comprising cold cuts, sausages, kebabs, shawarma and more. The latest investment will pave the way for the company to enter new markets and further establish its omnichannel network, the company’s CEO and founder Chandran said.
“We believe that TenderCuts has an opportunity to leverage its robust supply chain of farmers and fishermen and its omnichannel strategy to efficiently cater to the mass market. Given our team’s deep experience in retail and e-commerce, we are confident that we can help TenderCuts achieve significant scale and accelerate the shift to the organised segment,” Paragon Partners’ senior partner Siddharth Parekh said.
India is one of the leading producers of poultry meat in the world. About 3.9 Mn metric tons of poultry meat last year, yet a major portion of the Indian meat and seafood market is unorganised. The organised segment grew rapidly in 2020 as customers turned to trusted brands to meet their needs.
While the Covid-19 rumours about poultry to human transmission and then the bird flu breakout in late 2020 and early 2021 did complicate things, the startups working in these segments claimed to have no impact on their sales as well as revenue.
One such startup working in this domain, Licious, even went on to hire 1,500 people in the months after lockdown. Meanwhile, FreshToHome reported an increase in sales during the bird flu outbreak. Other startups in this domain are Easymeat and Zapprfresh in the gourmet meat segment.