Mantra Capital backs fitness firm Sarva in maiden investment
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The US- and India-based venture capital firm Mantra Capital has invested in yoga and wellness startup Sarva in an extension of the company’s first institutional funding round.

The Patni family, a strategic partner of Sarva’s, also took part in this round, the Mumbai-based startup said in a statement. It didn’t disclose the amount it raised.

This is the maiden deal that Mantra Capital has struck since it floated its first $60 million fund in January.

At the time, the cross-border investment firm said it had started scouting for startups in India and other countries like the US to make investments. It is led by entrepreneurs Jay Krishnan, Srikanth Chintalapati and Kevin Jacobs.

The investment in Sarva, operated by Zorba Renaissance Pvt. Ltd, comes after the company raised Rs 20 crore ($2.8 million) in its first institutional round of funding in December last year. The round was led by consumer-focused VC firm Fireside Ventures.

Sarva co-founder Sarvesh Shashi said the company will use the fresh capital to expand its digital initiatives, which are currently being conducted across 25 countries including the US, the UK and Italy.

“While our digital product was underway and ready to be launched, heightened investor interest and the current situation fast-tracked it. We are in the process of raising more capital to enhance our digital offering,” he said, adding that the funding round will remain open for select new investors.

Mantra’s Krishnan said the VC firm was confident of its bet on Sarva because of the company’s blend of offline and online offerings being suited for markets such as India.

Sarva was founded by Shashi in March 2016. The company’s other offerings include guided meditation and interactive fitness segments. At the time of Fireside’s investment, the company said it was aiming to have 100 million customers on its platform by 2022.

Last year, Sarva raised an undisclosed amount in funding from a clutch of investors including global pop artist Jennifer Lopez and Mark Mastrov, the founder of fitness firm 24 Hour Fitness Worldwide Inc.

Sarva competes with the likes of Cure Fit Healthcare Pvt. Ltd. The health and fitness company is one of the most heavily funded startups in the country. Cure Fit was started by Myntra co-founder Mukesh Bansal and former Flipkart executive Ankit Nagori in 2017.

Other startups in the segment include the Squats Fitness Pvt. Ltd-operated Fittr, which earlier this week raised $2 million in its pre-Series A funding round from Surge, the accelerator programme operated by Sequoia Capital India. Squats Fitness has in the past also raised funding from Bollywood actor and producer Suniel Shetty.

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