Gurgaon-based InnerChef, a food-technology company that delivers ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook meals, has raised $2.5 million in a Series A funding round led by Mistletoe, M&S Fund Singapore and existing investors. This is the first investment by Mistletoe Japan, an initiative of Taizo Son, brother of Masa Son (chairman of Softbank).
The proceeds will be deployed to build a strong presence for InnerChef brands in metro cities including Delhi (NCR), Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.
Launched in 2015 by Rajesh Sawhney , Sanjeev Singhal and Bal Dighent, InnerChef had earlier raised around $1.6 million from tech entrepreneurs including Phanindra Sama, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Vishal Gondal and Anupam Mittal, among others.
The company offers meals in two formats - ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook. Currently, InnerChef claims to process about one million meals on a monthly basis, with an average order value of Rs 500. Rajesh Sawhney, co-founder and CEO of Innerchef, said,
We plan to invest the money in building a strong brand and have started adding more kitchens across our four locations. Desserts in InnerChef are fulfilled by women entrepreneurs, who are mainly neighbourhood chefs. We aspire to enable 10,000 women entrepreneurs who can leverage our platform.
The round comes as a great relief for InnerChef as investors' sentiments have turned cold towards food tech startups lately. Over the last 12 months, several angel-funded startups, including TinyOwl, iTiffin, EazyMeals and ZuperMeal, had shut shop. These companies failed to break the barrier of Series A funding. Rajesh also agreed to this. He added,
I believe this round is about creating a partnership between two organisations, InnerChef and Mistletoe, that have a shared vision of the future with regards to food and agriculture. I also think InnerChef has a very different vision and a differentiated product experience from the rest of the companies.