Over the last three years, the startup ecosystem has witnessed a wave of accelerators and incubators; and their activities in India. While incubators like 500Startups, Angel Prime, Kyron and GSF, among several others, captivated media attention, lesser known incubator AntFarm kept its cards close to its chest till it launched Stylista and acquired the oldest food delivery platform Meals on Wheels.
Valuation for AntFarm is captured by the individual companies. Value for which has grown by 400 per cent since the last funds raised. “We are in talks with investors to raise $20-30 million in the next round of funding. The fresh round of funding will be used to reinforce the current portfolio and grow upcoming businesses. Some of the amount will go back into the companies that have been incubated,” says Rishi Khiani, Founder and CEO, AntFarm.
Founded in 2012, AntFarm is a digital media and internet company headquartered in Mumbai which aims to take disruptive ideas and build them up into successful global brands. AntFarm follows a unique approach in jumpstarting successful businesses by putting together cross-functional teams led by industry veterans and entrepreneurs that work on business opportunities identified internally at AntFarm.
Led by Rishi, AntFarm is different from typical business incubators as it focuses on rapid execution. It’s approach is to shorten the development phase and bring the deployment and execution time to less than 30 days for startups.
Motivation behind Meals on Wheels acquisition
When asked what was the thought process behind acquiring Meals On Wheels, Rishi said, “We observed that essential services like delivery are increasingly becoming important for the consumer in the country. Meals on Wheels, the pioneer of food delivery in the country, has partnered with the best restaurants and hotels in South Mumbai. It also has a robust active user base and a critical mass of orders-per-day. This acquisition was the first step for AntFarm to disrupt the budding local delivery service business through smart technology.”
With the domain expertise of Meals on Wheels, AntFarm planned a multi-layered approach to transform the local delivery business in India and become a nationwide player. It started with food delivery and quickly added various other business categories like essential electronics, gifts and flowers etc. Meals On Wheels also plans to introduce virtual food platforms for restaurants on the soon to be launched app.
Meals on Wheels will go beyond delivering meals
AntFarm plans to have tie-ups with both brick and mortar companies and partnership with SMBs (at multi-locations) to curate, aggregate the products and thus provide end to end delivery.
“At present, Meals on Wheels provides delivery from the most popular restaurants in South Mumbai. As the first phase of the planned national expansion campaign, AntFarm will scale logistics to initially have coverage throughout Mumbai and then expand to Delhi NCR, Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, Hyderabad and Kolkata,” reveals Rishi.
A look at AntFarm’s startup farm
The company had recently raised funds that were channelled to reinforce the current portfolio, grow upcoming businesses in the travel space and to build new early stage ventures in the fitness, hyper-local and mobile categories.
“Our most recent venture, Arrive.com, is a travel discovery platform that is close to rolling out a mobile app for the East Asian market. In the fitness space, we are launching RevoFit in the next few weeks. This app will let customers connect with a nutritionist, fitness and behavioural coach,” says Rishi.
Go on your own - mantra for AntFarm’s incubated startups
AntFarm encourages its incubated companies to be driven on their own and has a majority stake in all. In the long run, Rishi wants AntFarm to be a holdings company in its incubatees. “At AntFarm, the ideas are home-grown headed by a professional who can lead the company. We have a track record of building profitable business units in a year’s time with Stylista.com, a collaborative fashion label, and Fork Media, a native advertising platform,” quips Rishi.
Website : AntFarm