Soulfull breakfast cereal startup gets $5.4m boost, which will aid Bangalore farmers

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

Soulfull breakfast cereal maker has received a cash injection to expand its distribution, which, in turn, will aid Bangalore farmers. Pic: ©GettyImages/siraanamwong
Soulfull breakfast cereal maker has received a cash injection to expand its distribution, which, in turn, will aid Bangalore farmers. Pic: ©GettyImages/siraanamwong
Investment firm Aavishkaar Venture Management Services has invested Rs 35 crore ($5.37m) in packaged food startup Kottaram Agro Foods.

The Bangalore-based packaged food company makes breakfast cereals under the brand Soulfull.

According to Vineet Rai, MD of Aavishkaar, Soulfull breakfast cereals – made from ancient grains – are addressing a number of social issues.

“The tangential outcome of Soulfull products is the increasing demand of ancient grains that will address problems of marginal Indian farmers and reduce environmental stresses on land since these grains can grow in arid areas, are pest-resistant and need minimal fertilizers,”​ said Rai.

Expanding its footprint

Prashant Parameswaran, MD and CEO of Kottaram Agro Foods, said the partnership will help Soulfull strengthen its product portfolio, accelerate marketing and expand its distribution.

The company plans to roll out the products to over 50,000 retail outlets in the next three years.

Kottaram Agro Foods was founded in 2011 to manufacture branded packaged food products such as breakfast cereals and instant mix.

The company’s revenue in 2017 was Rs 10.41 crore, after registering a net loss of Rs 5.92 crore.

The investment was funded by the Aavishkaar Bharat Fund, which targets early-to-mid stage investment opportunities in sectors such as healthcare, agriculture, clean technology, education and financial inclusion.

In November 2017, the investment firm hit the first close at $95m (Rs 620 crore) and is targeting to make the final close at $200m.

Kottaram Agro Foods is its second investment.

Investment activity in food start-ups

Other investments in the sector saw ready-to-cook food startup Fingerlix raise Rs 8.5 crore ($1.3m) from venture debt firm Alteria Capital earlier this week.

In January, Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia invested Rs 152 crore ($23m) in Southern Health Foods, which markets its products under the brand ‘Manna Foods’, while health foods startup True Elements raised Rs 5 crore ($788,500) in a pre-Series A funding round led by the RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group.

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