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Fireside Ventures’ maiden fund hits first close as Premji, Mariwalas invest

12 June, 2017

Fireside Ventures, an early-stage consumer-focused venture fund, on Monday said it has marked the first close of its debut fund with commitments of Rs 180 crore (about $28 million).

The fund has secured the backing of marquee investors, including family offices of Wipro promoter Azim Premji (PremjiInvest) and consumer goods maker Marico’s Mariwalas (Sharrp Ventures), private equity firm WestBridge Capital, RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group and Emami Ltd, the statement added.

VCCircle had first reported in February that the venture capital fund, founded by Helion Venture Partners’ co-founder Kanwaljit Singh, was nearing its first close. With a target corpus of Rs 300 crore, the fund seeks to invest in consumer brands across sectors, including food and beverages, personal care and home products.

“The fund will invest across multiple stages in consumer brand companies from inception till Series A,” Singh said in the statement. Besides, it will leverage the network of its marquee investors for additional co-investment requirements, he added.

Fireside Ventures feels rising consumer aspirations for better quality and branded products, the growth of modern trade and online channels and the quality of entrepreneurs bodes well for the sector, the statement said. There is also significant interest from large strategic players in the consumer brands space to acquire smaller brands that provide profitable exits, it added.

Avendus is the exclusive adviser-partner to Fireside Ventures for the fund-raise.

A veteran investor with around three decades of experience, Singh quit Helion after spending a decade with the firm he helped start in 2005. At Helion, he primarily focused on backing consumer companies.

A year after his departure from Helion, he came back as an independent director on boards of several consumer portfolio companies of the VC firm. These included North Indian vegetarian quick service restaurant (QSR) chain Mast Kalandar, Vas Data Services, which owns fashion brand YepMe, and ID Fresh Foods.

At Fireside, Kanwal is joined by Vinay Singh, who has over 10 years’ experience in consumer brands, in the digital marketing space and as an entrepreneur. He was co-founder of Stepni.in, an online platform that connects vehicle owners with service providers, which he sold to Quikr.

Mushrooming venture funds
Fireside Ventures joins a bunch of venture funds in India that have either hit their first or final close, or are in the process of raising funds.

Early this month, global venture capital firm Sequoia Capital topped up its fourth India-focused fund for the second time by another $125 million.

Stellaris Venture Partners, an early-stage venture capital firm founded by former top executives at Helion Venture Partners, hit the first close of its maiden fund at $50 million (Rs 337 crore then) in February. Later, in May, International Finance Corporation proposed to invest $10 million in the first fund of Stellaris.

In March, venture capital firm IDG Ventures India marked the final close of its third fund, meeting its targeted corpus of $200 million (around Rs 1,332 crore). In the same month, early-stage venture fund pi Ventures also announced the first close of its maiden fund at $13 million.

In January, early-stage venture capital firm Endiya Partners made the final close of its debut fund at Rs 175 crore (around $26 million) while Saama Capital made the final close of its third venture capital fund at $57 million (Rs 390 crore).

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Fireside Ventures’ maiden fund hits first close as Premji, Mariwalas invest

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