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WEH Ventures leads pre-seed funding for ice cream brand NOTO
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NOTO, a healthy ice cream brand, has raised funding in a pre-seed funding round led by WEH Ventures.

The company's existing investor Lead Angels also participated in this round, as per a press statement.

The Mumbai-based company plans to strengthen its current base by launching more flavours and aims to take the product to other cities in the country.

The amount raised was not disclosed.

"Consumers started getting conscious and began reading ingredients on the labels -- we observed a wide gap between their expectations and availability of products in the market," said Varun Sheth and his wife Ashni, co-founders of NOTO.

Having a degree in culinary arts, Varun had earlier launched startups Pizza Kitchen and Gourmet Catering. Ashni is an alumni of Milan-based Istituto Marangoni and is the marketing head of Pizza Kitchen and Gourmet Catering.

Launched in May 2019, NOTO currently has eight flavours and each of them are available in 125ml tubs, free from any kind of preservatives, artificial sweeteners or colours.

"While there are a lot of healthier alternatives in the snacking & beverage space, no one has yet taken the mantle to make desserts healthier. With this context in mind, we decided to invest in NOTO," said Rohit Krishna, general partner at WEH Ventures.

Amul and Mother Dairy, besides regional players such as Arun Icecreams, Havmor and Dairy Classic, and international players such as Baskin-Robbins, Häagen-Dazs and London Dairy populate the ice cream space in India.

Not too many deals were reported in the segment in recent years.

Mid-market private equity firm BanyanTree Capital had acquired the entire food business of an ice cream chain in the National Capital Region in 2018.

In 2017, South Korean conglomerate Lotte Confectionery Co. Ltd agreed to acquire Havmor Ice Cream Ltd for 164.5 billion won ($152 million or Rs 978 crore then) to establish a foothold in India.

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