[Funding alert] Ratan Tata-backed startup Bombay Hemp raises $2M

The startup supplies premium hemp (cannabis/ marijuana) leaf extract and industrial hemp products.
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Ratan Tata-backed Bombay Hemp Company (Boheco) has raised $2 million (about Rs 15 crore) from the family offices of Achin Kochar of the Vi-John Group, Riteesh Mohan Bakshi and Raghav Mohan Bakshi.

The startup supplies premium hemp (cannabis/ marijuana) leaf extract and industrial hemp products.

Bombay Hemp is the country's first startup studying the medical use of hemp. Its seed round investors included Ratan Tata, chairman of Tata Trusts and Chairman eEmeritus of Tata Sons, and Rajan Anandan, ex-Managing Director of Google India and currently Managing Director of Sequoia Capital and Surge.

Boheco Chief Executive Chirag Tekchandaney told PTI that his company has secured investment commitments for $ 2.5 million, but only $ 2 million has a firm commitment.

Hemp Nutrition Range

Before this funding round, Bombay Hemp had concluded a pre-series-A offering of $750,000, with the participation of the employee fund of Valiant Capital, Arphi Electronics, AngelList Trust, a syndicate led by IIM-Kozhikode alumni fund, and Prakhar Agarwal of Adept Ventures, and several other HNIs.

In earlier rounds, Boheco had raised $2.33 million.

The Vi-John Group is a leading manufacturer and marketer of beauty, skincare, and cosmetic products, and Tekchandaney hopes Kochar's expertise in mass marketing of consumer goods will come in handy to expand Boheco's reach.

He further said the Bakshis will take up a key position in the company and lend advocacy and regulatory support in certain states to work with government officials.

Boheco will use the capital to bolster manufacturing/production, and improve quality control, build omnichannel distribution capabilities, build the brand and customer acquisition. It also plans rapid expansion of Boheco Life, its direct-to-consumer health, wellness, and nutrition brand.

The global industrial hemp market is expected to grow annually at around 16 percent by 2027 to reach $15 billion, while the global medical hemp market is expected to touch $46 billion by then, clipping at annually around 23 percent, Tekchandaney pointed out, quoting industry data.

Tekchandaney said he wants to make Boheco a leading global player in the health and wellness marketplace. Throughout the world, consumer and regulatory attitudes about the medical use of hemp are shifting, and we see that shift daily as consumers purchase our arthritis, stress, and pain management products, he said.

Edited by Anju Narayanan