[Funding alert] Wholsum Foods raises $7M to expand millet-based offerings
Millet-based food startup Wholsum Foods, the parent company of children’s food brand, on Wednesday said it raised $7 million in a fresh round led by Investment Corporation of Dubai, the sovereign wealth fund of the Government of Dubai, and existing investor Fireside Ventures.
The fundraise comes a year after Fireside Ventures’ initial investment of $2 million in the company.
In an official statement, the Gurugram-based startup said it will use the newly raised capital to further Wholsum Foods’ core purpose of developing millet-based products with zero junk ingredients. The funds will also be deployed towards product innovation, marketing, and increasing global footprint.
The funding round comes at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the growth of Wholsum Foods, as consumers became more health-conscious, enabling the brand to register a 10X growth between June 2020 and December 2021.
Meghana Narayan and Shauravi Malik, Co-founders and Co-CEOs, Wholsum Foods, said,
“We have a deep-rooted conviction to bring millets back to the meals we eat and make them incredibly delicious. The UN-designated Year of Millets strengthens our commitment to lead the conversation on these supergrains. We are growing steadily and currently clocking in over Rs 50 crore of revenue run rate, with an aim to reach Rs 500 crore in revenue by 2025. The funds raised will enable us to build a global Indian FMCG brand.”
In the past, Wholsum Foods has also raised $1 million from over 20 angel investors, including Rakesh Kapoor (former CEO of Reckitt Benckiser), Sanjeev Bikhchandani (Founder and Executive Vice Chairman, Info Edge), Ashish Dhawan (Founder and CEO, Central Square Foundation), Aditya Ghosh (board member of Akasa, Fab India, and OYO), Yasemin Lamy (Deputy CIO of impact investment group CDC), and Samrath Bedi (Executive Director, Forest Essentials), among others.
Founded by Meghana Narayan and Shauravi Malik, Slurrp Farm was born in October 2016 to provide healthy and natural food options for children.
Nader Bekhouche, Principal – Investment (Growth Equity), ICD, said,
“The Slurrp Farm brand is backed by the goodness of superfood ingredients like millets and has built enormous appeal for itself since inception. At ICD, we seek to partner with companies like Wholsum Foods that are building innovative digital-first brands that focus on good for consumers and good for the world while also enjoying a large shareholder value creation opportunity. We believe that Wholsum Foods fits this bill perfectly and is poised to achieve significant scale.”
In 2021, the food startup launched 20 new SKUs, including Little Millet Noodles and Foxtail Millet Noodles. The same year, it expanded to the UAE. At present, Slurrp Farm is looking to grow its offline and online presence in the region by 40 percent in the next 12 months.
Last year, Slurrp Farm took its ‘zero junk promise’ to the UK and US as it began retailing in the countries. It also won the Amazon Global Selling Propel Startup Accelerator programme, which enables Slurrp Farm to get access to customers across the world through Amazon’s ecommerce exports programme and create a global brand.
Founder and Managing Partner, Fireside Ventures, Kanwaljit Singh, said,
“We are absolutely delighted to participate in this round of funding for Wholsum Foods, a business which has purpose at its core as it brings back ancient grains which are good for both consumers and the planet. As a fund, we believe that building sustainable brands is the dual responsibility of investors and brands alike. In this context, as conscious consumption increases, Wholsum Food’s vision of bringing back supergrains like millets is perfectly in line with people and planet development goals.”