Nilgai Foods, which operates quick service restaurant (QSR) chain PICO and sells condiments and gourmet processed foods products, has raised its first round of equity investment from an unnamed high net-worth investor (HNI).
The investor has acquired a minority stake in Nilgai Foods for an undisclosed amount. This investment will go towards expanding the business and meeting working capital requirements, the company said.
Nilgai Foods operates a chain of 11 PICO Express outlets at key locations in Mumbai, based in corporate parks, office complexes and gyms, and provides a range of grab-and-go gourmet foods. The company has plans to expand to other cities such as Delhi and Bangalore. It also has plans to take its product to all major metros and Tier I towns over the next few years. At present, the products are available in Mumbai and NCR.
Abhay Jaiswal, CEO of Nilgai Foods, said, “Over the next few years, we plan to take our QSR brand PICO Express to cities like Delhi and Bangalore. Our FMCG products are currently in Delhi and Mumbai, but we plan to expand that reach rapidly over the next couple of years to reach over 10,000 retail stores across India. We will be looking at raising $7-10 million more to finance our on-going expansion plans.”
Its product line straddles categories such as jams, sauces, dips, dressings and baked goods sold through third-party retailers. The flavours are designed for the Indian palette such as ShahiMakhni Dip, Mango Chilli sauce and BhutJholokia sauce, which is India’s spiciest chilli sauce.
Intellecap acted as the advisor to the company on the transaction.
Gagandeep Bakshi, associate director -investment banking at Intellecap, said, “The Indian gourmet foods market is estimated at Rs 8,100 crore, and is one of the fastest growing segments in the space today, clocking growth rates of over 30 per cent year-on-year. The growth in this space is primarily driven by changing consumer preferences and tastes due to increasing exposure to global cuisines.”
QSR and food services firms have been attracting both private equity and strategic investors. Early this year, Future Consumer Enterprise Ltd acquired 35 per cent stake in Mumbai-based Sarjena Foods Private Limited, which is into manufacturing and distributing branded bakery products under the brand Baker Street.
Recently, Delhi-based Veeba Food Services Pvt Ltd, founded by former promoters of Fun Foods Services Pvt Ltd, raised around Rs 10 crore in a Series B round of funding led by the existing investor DSG Consumer Partners.
Fine dining restaurant chain Speciality Restaurants, which is backed by multi-stage PE investor SAIF Partners, also acquired majority stake in Mumbai-based bakery chain Love Sugar Dough. Love Sugar Dough is a Mumbai-based company set up in 2011 by Nauzad Munshi and Tarannum Merchant. It has eight bakery stores spread across Mumbai, Pune and Surat and wishes to scale up and expand the stores in other cities.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)