Mumbai-based ready-to-cook food startup, Chef’s Basket, has raised $6 Mn (about INR 40 Cr.) in series A round of funding from SAIF Partners and Haresh Chawla, an angel investor partner in India Value Fund Advisor. Chawla had participated in this round in his personal capacity.
With this fund raise, the investors were offered fresh equity in the company. Besides, Vishal Sood of SAIF Partners will join the board of Fizzy Foodlabs, owner of Chef’s Basket.
Founded in 2012 by Manish Tirthani, Varun Jhawar and Nipun Tirthani – Chef’s Basket – viz Fizzy Foodlabs world cuisine brand – offer their consumers gourmet world cuisine including Italian, Mexican, Oriental and Thai dishes in two ready to cook formats at INR 75 to INR 300. They have an extensive network of star chefs who help them create the food kits.
Currently, the company sells about 1.3 lakh units of single serve packs a month, and about 90% of the sales come from hypermarkets. It has a panel of 12 chefs who are responsible for product development. “These chefs have been associated with famous restaurants like Little Italy, Spaghetti Kitchen, Sancho’s, Renaissance (Fratelli Fresh) and India Jones (Trident),” said Katyal.
With the raised funds, the startup plans to expand its range of products and add new distribution channels. “This funding will help us take Chef’s Basket to the next level of growth. We plan to expand the brand to the top 15 cities of India, with a portfolio of 30 SKUs (stock keeping units) by the end of March 2016,” said Varun Jhawar, co-founder of Chefs Basket.
Chef’s Basket plans to expand its portfolio to introduce single serve format in oriental cuisine, a range of fresh products with lower shelf life and also launch its own range of pasta sauces. Besides Arrabbiata, the startup, currently, offers Penne in Creamy Tomato sauce and Black Bean Burrittos. Products that will soon be introduced are Alfredo in Penne, Olive & Basil pesto in Fettucine, Thai Green Curry & Jasmine Rice and Drunken Stir Fry Noodles.
Speaking on the ready-to-cook space, Mukul Singhal, partner at SAIF Partners, said “Chef’s Basket’s business is attractive as India is growing and the consumption patterns are increasing, this category will become big. Right now, the ready to cook category is small in India and it is expected to grow 10-20x in the next couple of years.”
To sell its products online, Chef’s Basket has partnered with ecommerce portals including Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, BigBasket, Paytm and Grofers, along with supermarket chains like Hypercity, D-Mart and Big Bazaar.
The company will soon be expanding to international markets with the help of their channel partners. It will introduce its range of Italian products in South Africa, Canada and Australia by January 2016.
According to industry estimates, the ready to cook industry in India is expected to grow 20-25% every year over the next five years.
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