Consumer centric venture fund Sixth Sense Ventures, floated by former IDFC Securities’ managing director and its co-head of research Nikhil Vora, has made its second investment in as many months by backing Cross Roads India Assistance Pvt. Ltd., a road side assistance provider for cars and two wheelers.
The transaction marks the first entry of an institutional player in Cross Roads through a Series A financing round. It has invested approximately Rs 10 crore ($1.5 million) in lieu of a significant minority stake.
This deal comes in quick succession for Sixth Sense which made its debut investment last month backing luxury watches retail chain operator Ethos Ltd.
“We want to look at businesses which operate in large white spaces, run by first generation entrepreneurs, servicing consumers’ imperative needs with a strong technology backbone to scale. I find that in Cross Roads,” according to Nikhil Vora, founder & CEO of Sixth Sense Ventures.
“By participating in Cross Roads, we are betting on the underlying trait of Indian customers who are ready to pay for convenience and peace of mind. We do believe that the roadside assistance space is extremely sticky and valuable globally and like the fact that unlike markets of US and Europe which are 100 per cent penetrated, India stands at just 1per cent,” he said.
Vora added that the plan is to replicate the success of Cross Roads in the Delhi NCR to pan India within five years.
He will join the board of Cross Roads as part of the investment.
“Internationally, roadside assistance companies have garnered immense investor interest with one company going for IPO in the UK and one being bought out in the US,” Vora told VCCircle.
Harish Lakhera, CEO of Cross Roads, said: “We see opportunities to burst through the B2C market and also work with marquee B2B players – be it OEMs or government. We will optimise and scale our technology backbone, whilst continuing our investments in infrastructure for future growth.”
Cross Roads provides break down assistance service and employs 500 people and offers services across 23 cities with self-owned / managed service network. It claims to attend to over 1,200 road side repairs every day and says it has handled over 3 million road side repairs / emergencies to date.
Cross Roads has nearly 0.25 million individual customers and in theB2B space counts clients like JK Tyres, Amara Raja, Airtel, AXA, Europ Assist etc besides being the sole service provider on the Yamuna Expressway.
Sixth Sense Ventures, which is raising around $40 million its debut fund, was floated by Vora early this year. Vora is independently also a private investor in several firms including Kangaroo Kids Education Ltd (KKEL), which runs Kangaroo Kids Preschool and Billabong High International School; Vini Cosmetics, an FMCG company which raised funding from Sequoia Capital; sports-focused digital display solutions firm Technology Frontiers, backed by Avigo Capital and MRO AirWorks, backed by NEA and GTI Capital.
Emerging India Value Advisors, a Delhi based boutique investment bank acted as exclusive advisors for Cross Roads.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)