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Why Fireside Ventures is betting big on millennials and digital-first strategies

Vishal Krishna
29th Jan 2019
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Fireside Ventures, an early-stage venture fund that focuses on consumer brands, has unveiled ambitious plans for the next decade: it aims to build 25 iconic consumer brands, take its companies to Rs 1,000 crore in revenues.

Fireside Ventures
Fireside Ventures Managing Partner Kanwaljit Singh

Fireside Ventures is known for its investments in consumer brands. But the Rs 340-crore fund is now changing its narrative by helping build Indian brands that can go global. After boAt, one of its portfolio companies, recently reached Rs 100 crore in revenues, Fireside Ventures announced an ambitious target: taking each of its brands to Rs 1,000 crore in revenues. The company has several more ambitious plans. It aims to build 25 iconic consumer brands over the next 15 years, including a few 'unicorns' in the next decade.

Kanwaljit Singh, Managing Partner at Fireside Ventures, says:

“There is an emergence of young brands, and we believe we can set ambitious targets for growth because consumption is on the rise in India.”

Vinay Singh, Partner at Fireside Ventures, adds: “We want our brands to focus on unit economics. They have to spend on marketing, but not go after discounting. They can scale based on their evolution with marketing monies. They will invest in platforms like Amazon or Big Basket to get discovered within the category.”

The company, which has invested in 18 companies, announced six investments in Indian brands today:

  • Tasty Tales: Ready-to-cook pastes and condiments brand that focuses on traditional food.
  • Kapiva: A wellness food brand from the Baidyanath family stable.
  • The Ayurveda Experience: Premium products only for the US; the brand sells from its website.
  • Azani: Founded by former Indian Squash player Siddarth, it offers running shoes.
  • Bog Orchid: From IIT-M, this startup is trying to solve the problems of mosquitoes with a pheromone trap.
  • SuMor: A professionally driven distribution company that helps brands get to the last step of their retail journey.

Fireside Ventures now plans to complete the loop by offering their brands access to market, audit firms, and debt funding. “We are not just a fund. We want to engage our brands digitally and with modern trade players,” says Kannan Sitaram, Venture Partner at Fireside Ventures.

The fund also announced that it has brought in Dipanjan Basu, formerly of Myntra, as Partner and CFO.

Helping young brands scale

Fireside Ventures is working with Metro, Big Basket, Amazon, NXFood, StoreKing, and Swiggy to help young brands scale through their platform to find new consumers. The fund also works with Kwan, Lucid, Shoptimize, and studioABD to execute design and packaging areas. It has partnered with audit firms like PWC for helping compliance, and has also tied up with Innoven and Lendingkart for debt/working capital financing. The fund also helps entrepreneurs with access to leadership programmes by Harsh Mariwala, Chairman of Marico, and Aditya Ghosh, CEO of OYO Rooms.

Fireside Ventures says that India's per capita income is on the rise – expected to go up to $2,000 per capita in 2019 – and this number will decide how young people spend on several aspects of their lives. The company cites data that millennials and GenZ are digital natives, and their spending on brands is going to triple. Millennials comprise 440 million of India's population, and another 470 million Indians were born after 2000.

In the US, brands like Warby Parker, Casper, Glossier, and Harry's have changed the way incumbents like P&G and Unilever look at the CPG category.

“People want to be healthy and want to take care of their body. Organic is going to be a big thing,” says Vinay says, on their outlook for the future.

There is a new, emerging consumer who focuses on eating, looking, and living better, and Fireside Ventures is going after this market.


Also read: Ayurvedic food brand Kapiva Ayurveda raises $2.5M in a fresh funding round


 

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