Former UTV and Unilazer Ventures’ executive Amit Banka enters QSR business

Amit Banka, a media industry veteran and former managing director of Mumbai-based private investment firm Unilazer Ventures Ltd, has floated three ventures in partnership with others including a quick service restaurant chain under the Cones & Curries brand, as per his LinkedIn profile.

The QSR chain, housed under a firm named VARN Hospitality Pvt Ltd, launched its first outlet in Delhi's Sarojini Nagar offering traditional Indian cuisine as well as international fast-food products in cones.

“We plan to launch 15 outlets in Delhi NCR in 12 months and are in discussions with people for franchise outlets in other parts of the country,” Banka said in a post in the professional networking platform on Monday.

The Economic Times, which first reported the development, said the venture has been bootstrapped by its four co-founders who have pitched in with Rs 1 crore each as internal seed funding.

It added that the company is clocking 50-100 orders a day.

Besides Banka, the venture counts Vinay Gupta, Rudra Pratap Singh Chauhan and Nitin Gupta as co-founders.

Vinay Gupta is an indirect tax consultant with specialisation in foreign trade policy, exports and deemed exports. He holds an engineering degree and is also a law graduate.

Rudra Pratap Singh Chauhan is an agriculture and food specialist and comes with a background of food technology and food engineering.

Nitin Gupta is also into the business of food manufacturing and has founded Pragati Snacks Pvt Ltd, which makes potato chips and other snacks under the brand name Jo's in northern India.

Banka quit Unilazer Ventures, the family office set up by UTV founder and former Walt Disney India chief Ronnie Screwvala in early 2014. He had spent two years at the firm as managing director and was responsible for asset allocation and management of fund.

An MBA in finance, Banka had previously worked with Subhash Chandra's Essel group and Salora Group in corporate finance, planning and strategy besides several years at Screwvala's UTV before Disney completed the buyout of the firm.

Other ventures

Cones & Curries is one of the three new ventures Banka has floated since quitting Unilazer. His other two ventures are Business Doctors and Equity Crest, with a few common partners.

Housed under BeeGram Business Doctors Pvt Ltd, Business Doctors comes across as a business transformation consultancy outfit. Besides Banka, the firm counts Rahul Singhal, an IIM Ahmedabad alumnus with financial services sector experience, and Amit Wadhwa, who has also worked at Essel, UTV and Disney, as part of the team besides Rudra Pratap and Vinay Gupta.

Equity Crest is part of EQ Advisors Pvt Ltd and is positioned as a private investment deal origination and facilitation platform. Besides Banka, this venture also counts Deepak Gupta, former investment director with Intel Capital, as well as Wadhwa as co-founders. Singhal is also part of the team.

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