[YS Exclusive] Nino Foods raises $1.6M from Y Combinator, Soma Capital, others

The foodtech firm will use the funds to introduce new food brands and enter new cities including Delhi and Bengaluru.
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Foodtech firm Nino Foods has raised $1.6 million in seed round from existing investor Y Combinator, and Soma Capital. Uncommon Capital and serial entrepreneur Harry Hurst also participated in the round, according to Nino Foods.

YourStory has also verified a copy of the document signed between Nino Foods and one of their investors.

While Y Combinator has been investing in early-stage firms, including now unicorn shopping platform Meesho, Soma Capital has been a backer of payment gateway Razorpay, cards disburser for teenagers FamPay, and regional language domestic advertising app Lokal.

The Mumbai-based firm will use the capital to add new food brands and increase team size to start operation in other cities including Delhi, Bengaluru and Pune.

"When we started, all we wanted to do was be able to run one food brand successfully. After we were actually able turn a brand functional and profitable, now we want to launch more brands faster," Nishant Jhaveri, Co-founder, Nino Foods Inc., told YourStory in an interaction.

Founded in 2020 by Nishant and friend Pranav Mehra, Nino Foods creates new brands in the digital-first food space. The duo started by taking over Frencesco's -- a well-known Mumbai-based pizza brand, which was struggling to function during the pandemic-- and turned it into a digital-first brand.

The duo started their first food brand Nino Burgers in about 30 days. Now they aim to reduce the brand launch time.

Later, Nino Foods launched Nino Burgers and entered the rolls and bowls category through a new brand Kudo. The firm is in the process of launching another food brand with chicken wings as their major focus. Currently, the firm has four locations in Mumbai.

Nino Foods currently serves over 13,000 order per month compared with 900 orders in the same period back when they started in August 2020. The firm claims to have a repeat purchase rate of 40-50 percent and also aims to grow their monthly orders to 50,000 by 2022.

"We were able to launch Nino Burgers in about 30 days. Now we want to expand faster and in more location based on our data and analytics. We aim to reduce our brand launch time even further. Probably in 15 days or less," says Pranav.

The digital-first food brand space, where Nino Foods operates in, got a major boost due to the pandemic-led lockdowns. As bored homebound customers started placing orders many food brands and startups catering to them have increased.

While recent unicorn Rebel Foods was at the right place to cash on the demand, newer players including Bengaluru-based Voosh and Ankit Nagori-led Curefoods are also trying to get a piece of the large food delivery pie.

India's online food delivery is expected to reach $12.7 billion by 2025 from $4.35 billion in 2020, according to Statista.

Edited by Anju Narayanan

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