Ready-to-cook food startup Chefs Basket has raised $6 million from SAIF partners and angel investor Haresh Chawla in series A funding.
The funding will be used towards expansion of its product range and adding new distribution channels by end of 2016. The startup also plans to strengthen its marketing, sales and operations team with the latest round of funding.
Chefs Basket was founded in 2012 by two IIT Bombay batchmates, Varun Jhawar and Nipun Katyal. Varun had worked with P&G, while Nipun joined consulting firm Booz & Co. The company currently offers Italian, Mexican, Oriental and Thai dishes in two ready to cook formats at Rs 75-300.
Jhawar said the company has raised the money by issuing fresh equity to the investors and Vishal Sood, partner at SAIF partners will represent the fund on the board of the startup.
Chefs 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.
Mukul Singhal, partner, SAIF Partners, said,
“Chefs Basket’s business is attractive because 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,”
Chefs Basket sells about 1.3 lakh units of single serve packs a month and almost 90% of the sales come from hypermarkets, according to Jhawar, who said the company targets to ramp up sales to 4-5 lakh units a month by March 2016.
The company has partnered e-commerce websites including Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, BigBasket, Paytm and Grofers, along with supermarket chains Hypercity, D-Mart and Big Bazaar to sell its products. Chefs Basket has a panel of 12 chefs who are responsible for product development. The company will introduce its range of Italian products in South Africa, Canada and Australia by January 2016, he said.
According to industry estimates, the ready to cook industry in India is expected to grow 20-25% every year over the next five years which is estimated to be INR 2,900 crore. The dominant players in the space today are Nestle, HUL, ITC and Marico among others.
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