NewQuest Capital bets $68 mn in packaged food maker id Fresh, Helion exits
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NewQuest Capital Partners, a private equity (PE) firm focused on emerging markets, has struck its latest bet in India by leading a Series D round of funding in ready-to-cook packaged food maker iD Fresh Food (India) Pvt. Ltd. 

The Bengaluru-based Id Fresh has secured Rs 507 crore (nearly $68 million) in this transaction, which also provide secondary exit to Helion Venture Partners, one of the early backers of the brand. The company’s existing investor PremjiInvest has also participated in this round. 

It couldn’t be immediately ascertained the contours of the transaction. However, the company said that primary infusion will enable the firm to boost product innovation, build capacities and expand its presence across key markets in India, the UAE, and the US.  

As part of its global expansion plans, the company plans to extend its presence to Singapore, Malaysia and other markets in the near future.  

“In the coming years, we will expand our presence across channels and geographies, strengthen our supply chain practices and introduce innovative products that will redefine the packaged fresh food space not just in India, but across the globe,” said PC Musthafa, co-founder and CEO at iD Fresh Food. 

“While there is a large opportunity set in the fresh food space, iD has a clear edge as a market leader with its deep understanding of consumer preferences and ability to innovate real-time and define industry benchmarks," he added.

The firm was launched in 2005 by IIM Bangalore alumnus Musthafa. Currently, iD caters to over 45 cities across 30,000 retail stores in India, UAE and US. It offers varied natural and healthy product range includes idly and dosa batter, malabar Parota, wheat Parota, Wheat Chapati, creamy paneer, instant filter coffee liquid and sandwich white bread among others. 

The brand had in 2017 secured funding from PremjiInvest, the private investment firm of Wipro Ltd chairman Azim Premji. Helion had backed the company in 2014 with an investment of Rs 35 crore. 

Last year, the company launched the world’s largest idli-dosa factory at Anekal in Karnataka with capex investment of close to Rs 50 crore. Its fully automated Giant Kitchen produces over 1 lakh kg batter and three lakh parotas per day. 

Not too many deals have been reported in the packaged food space in the past couple of years.  Early last year, Tata Consumer Products Ltd has bought out Kottaram Agro Foods, a packaged foods startup that is backed by impact investment firm Aavishkaar Venture Management Services Ltd. 

However, in healthy foods segment, a handful of startups such as Storia Foods and Beverages Pvt Ltd, The Whole Truth and Plix have raised funding in recent past.

NewQuest Capital Partners had last year invested in Sapphire Foods India Pvt Ltd--one of the largest franchisees of Yum! Brands, and Pizza Hut, along with another Hong Kong-based secondaries focussed PE firm TR Capital in August last year. 

In June, the fund had bought a minority stake in maternity clinic Kids Clinic India Pvt Limited, which operates Cloudnine chain of hospitals. NewQuest’s other recent investments in India include Cosmos-Maya and KreditBee

Private equity firm TPG acquired a majority stake in New Quest earlier last year.   

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