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Jungle Ventures doubles down on ice cream brand NIC

By K Amoghavarsha

  • 21 Feb 2024
Jungle Ventures doubles down on ice cream brand NIC

Singapore-based venture capital firm Jungle Ventures, which has backed unicorns such as Moglix and Livspace, has doubled down on its maiden investment in the food and beverage segment as it invested $20 million (Rs 166 crore) in Indian ice cream maker Walko Food Co. Pvt. Ltd.    

The company, which operates the ice cream brand NIC, will use the capital to expand its product portfolio and customer base along with its presence across India, according to a company statement.   

“The capital raised will help to expand Walko’s operational capacity, improve our product offerings and diversify with the mass-market ice cream brand Yummo,” said Sanjiv Shah, director, Walko Food.   

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NIC had in May last year raised $11 million from Jungle Ventures. That investment came after VCCircle reported in January 2023 that Jungle Ventures had emerged as the frontrunner to invest in the ice cream maker and that the company was likely to raise as much as $40 million. Previously, JM Financial Private Equity Fund II invested Rs 35 crore into the brand iin June 2021.    

Walko Food was co-founded in 2012 by Shah, Jeetendra Bhandari and Raj Bhandari. It manufactures and sells ice creams, kulfis, frozen desserts and thick shakes via its brands including NIC, Grameen Kulfi, Yummo, and Cream Pot.  The company retails its products through a chain of parlours as well as quick commerce platforms.    

“In recent years, ice cream has captivated Indian consumers, causing a shift in dessert consumption patterns from traditional Indian sweets to ice cream. Walko has showcased leadership in this segment with a range of brands spanning various price points,” added Arpit Beri, partner, India Investments, Jungle Ventures.   

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Jungle Ventures was set up by Amit Anand and Anurag Srivastava. The firm secured $10 million for its debut fund in 2012. It raised $100 million for its second fund in 2016 and $240 million for its third vehicle in 2019. It closed its fourth fund in May 2022 as it managed to raise $600 million, higher than its initial target corpus of $350 million.  

The VC firm’s India portfolio includes insurtech platform Turtlemint, edtech company Leap, blue-collar workforce management firm BetterPlace, social commerce platform CityMall, and consumer appliances startup Atomberg.     

In August 2023, the firm absorbed early-stage VC firm HealthXCapital to strengthen its presence in the healthcare sector across India and Southeast Asia.  

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