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Artha Venture Fund invests in former Paytm execs\' food-tech startup Daalchini
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Daalchini Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which operates eponymous vending machines that offer home-cooked food, has raised Rs 3.5 crore (a little more than $500,000) from early-stage venture capital firm Artha Venture Fund.

The company said it will use the fresh funding to expand its product range and improve its logistical services, as well as strengthen its brand identity and recruit a management team.

Founded by former Paytm executives Prerna Kalra and Vidya Bhushan, Daalchini’s customers can order food via a mobile app and then pick up the items from the nearest kiosk.

Kalra said the company was solving the issue of providing healthy meals to corporate employees at affordable prices. It is also providing home cooks with a specialised distribution channel and predictable demand for their services, she added.

Separately, Artha Venture Fund managing partner Anirudh Damani said he was confident about Daalchini because of its solution to addressing the gap in the availability of quality and affordable food.

Kalra, an Institute of Management Technology-Ghaziabad alumnus, worked as a general manager for products at Paytm Payments Bank. Bhushan, who graduated from the Indian Institute of Management’s Ahmedabad campus, worked as an offline payment product manager at Paytm.

Daalchini currently has around 70 kiosks spread around the National Capital Region that are serving meals to over 40 corporate clients, including Paytm, OYO and Ernst & Young.

The startup said it is planning to expand to 1,600 operational kiosks by 2021.

Artha Venture Fund

Artha Venture Fund, which is backed by Singularity Holdings and the family office of former BSE director Ashok Kumar Damani, last month marked the second close of its debut fund at more than Rs 100 crore (around $14.5 million). At the time, Anirudh Damani said that the final close of the fund is expected by April 2020 at Rs 200 crore.

The fund said its strategy maintains a 1:10 ratio for follow-on investments. In June, it invested Rs 1.85 crore (around $270,000) in Jadooz Media Solutions Pvt. Ltd, which owns and operates entertainment zones that consist of cinema halls, virtual reality (VR) centres and cafes in towns and villages in India.

In May, it struck its third bet by investing in Kabaddi Adda, a portal which offers content dedicated to the sport. Last year, it also invested Rs 1.25 crore (around $180,000) in Chotta Haazri Foods Pvt. Ltd, which operates tea kiosks under the brand Haazri.

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