Smoodies, which makes fruit and vegetable smoothies, has raised $500,000 (Rs 3.4 crore) in a pre-Series A round of investment from equity crowdfunding platform 1Crowd, the company’s co-founder Anusha Bhushan told VCCircle.
The fresh capital will primarily be used for building a stronger team and setting up a new production facility for capacity expansion, Bhushan said. A significant chunk will also go towards marketing and sales efforts, she added.
Owned and operated by Muddy Puddle Foods Pvt. Ltd, Smoodies was founded in late-2016 by Bhushan and her MBA batchmate from Indian Institute of Management-Calcutta, Siddhartha Deb.
Before launching the startup, Bhushan worked with Deutsche Bank and Bain & Company while Deb previously worked with McDermott International, Tata Strategic Management Consulting and Bain & Company.
Smoodies makes a range of 100% fruit and vegetable smoothies with no dairy, water, sugar, or preservatives added. The company said every product is a blend of different fruits, while each flavour has a minimum of three different fruits.
“Today we see a huge gap in the availability and affordability of quality, packaged products that we can adopt into our lifestyle on a regular basis,” Bhushan said. “The idea is to provide today’s time-crunched urban consumers with the next best alternative to consuming fruits.”
The company’s products are currently available at 200 retail stores including Nature's Basket, Namdhari's Fresh and Foodworld across Bengaluru and Mumbai, besides on its own website.
The products are also available on a number of online platforms such as Swiggy, BigBasket, Grocery, Amazon, and Zopnow.
Currently, most of Smoodies’ sales come from offline channels with online contributing just about 10% to its overall revenue.
The startup is working on growing deeper in these two cities to get their products into corporates, quick service restaurant (QSR) chains, and other retail outlets besides exploring marketing avenues in corporate workplaces and gyms.
1Crowd, which was launched in 2015, is an equity crowdfunding platform whose angel investors include Ganesh Natarajan, chairman, 5F World; Aniruddha Malpani, an IVF (in vitro fertilisation) specialist; and Krishnakumar Natarajan, co-founder and executive chairman of IT firm Mindtree.
In March this year, the company marked the first close its debut angel fund at Rs 23 crore ($3.5 million). The fund, which is registered with market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), has a target corpus of Rs 75 crore including a greenshoe option of Rs 25 crore.
The fund is positioned to co-invest with the equity crowdfunding platform. The investment into Smoodies has been done on a 30-70 ratio where the platform anchored the investment. However, the fund will contribute 50% of investments after the second close, Anup Kuruvilla, co-founder of 1Crowd, said.
The platform has made investments in about 20 firms including in urban logistics services firm Mojro, realty-tech startup Zipgrid, community building platform Fourth Ambit and advertising-technology startup Proximit Media India.
The fund is largely sector agnostic. It expects to invest around $500,000 in the initial round per company and will look to increase its stake in subsequent rounds for some of its investee companies.