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A91 Partners invests in spices maker Pushp
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Venture capital firm A91 Partners has invested Rs 125 crore ($16.4 million at current exchange rate) in the company behind spice brands Pushp and Munimji.

In January this year, VCCircle was the first to report that the Indore-based firm was in discussions with A91 Partners for its first institutional round of funding.

As part of the deal, the VC firm has picked up 25% stake. The move has valued the company at Rs 500 crore ($65.6 million at current exchange rate). 

The spice maker said in a statement that it will use the capital to primarily expand its distribution network, hire professionals and strengthen the brand through marketing campaigns.

The group comprises partnership firm Munimji & Sons and a few other companies including Munimji Foods and Spices Pvt. Ltd and Munimji Exports Pvt. Ltd, according to the spice maker’s website.

The spice maker, which was launched in 1974, started off as a small firm in Indore. It supplied spices only in the Malwa region, which included Madhya Pradesh and parts of Rajasthan, during its initial years. 

Over the years, it has expanded to Maharashtra, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.

A91 Partners

A91 Partners was founded by former Sequoia Capital India executives Abhay Pandey, VT Bharadwaj and Gautam Mago. The trio had left Sequoia between June 2017 and August 2018. In November 2018, Kaushik Anand quit as the India head of CapitalG (formerly Google Capital) to join A91 Partners.

A91 Partners sealed the final close of its debut fund in July 2019 at $351 million. Earlier this month, it bought the stake of US-based non-profit organisation Accion International in non-banking financial company Aye Finance Pvt. Ltd.

It was also reported to be looking to bet on Atomberg Technology Pvt. Ltd, which makes and sells energy-efficient ceiling fans. Pushp Masala is the fund's sixth known bet.

Spicing it up

Several spice makers are in the market currently to raise either private equity capital or sell shares to a strategic player.

Last month, biscuits-to-cigarettes maker ITC Ltd inked an agreement to acquire Kolkata-based packaged spices maker Sunrise Foods Pvt. Ltd in what could turn out to be one of the biggest deals in the Indian food sector.

Norwegian food company Orkla-owned packaged food company MTR Foods is also set to take control of Kerala’s largest spice player Eastern Condiments Pvt. Ltd. Earlier, PE firm Warburg Pincus was in advanced talks to invest in the company.

In October 2019, Intergrow Brands Pvt. Ltd, a subsidiary of spices maker Synthite Industries Pvt. Ltd, raised $11.3 million from Bahrain-based alternative investment firm Investcorp.

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