Internet restaurant company Rebel Foods entered India's elite unicorn club with its latest fundraise, a series F round in which it raised $175 million at a valuation of $1.4 billion. Known for its cloud kitchen brands such as Faasos, Behrouz Biryani, Ovenstory Pizza, Mandarin Oak and The Good Bowl, Rebel Foods now becomes India's 32nd unicorn in 2021.
The funding round was led by Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, with participation from existing investors Coatue and Evolvence, a company statement said.
With this investment, Rebel Foods has become the third unicorn to enter the coveted club in just three days after CoinSwitch Kuber and Licious. Goldman Sachs acted as the exclusive financial advisor and Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas acted as the legal advisor to Rebel Foods on this transaction, the statement said.
The company said it is steadily moving towards profitability with annual run rate sales of $150 million, growing 100 per cent YoY and is eyeing an IPO (initial public offering) in the next 18-24 months.
Founded in 2011 by Jaydeep Barman and Kallol Banerjee, Rebel Foods operates over 45 brands and 450 kitchens globally across 10 countries -- India, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Philippines and Bangladesh. It also operates over 4,000 internet restaurants.
"With the influx of fresh funding, Rebel Foods will continue to focus on growing their international footprint, technology and brand acquisitions," the company said in a statement. It said the fundraising will allow it to deliver on its vision of bringing the highest quality brands across food missions to customers.
Ravi Golani, Chief Strategy Officer, Rebel Foods, said the food-tech space has evolved towards better personalisation, innovation, and transparency. "We are excited to welcome QIA, which has a track record of being a long-term supportive investor."
Its Chief Financial Officer Piyush Kakkad said while the company is excited about becoming the next unicorn, its focus remains on improving customer experience "the Rebel way". The company that has developed its full-stack technology -- Rebel OS -- through which multiple brands are launched and scaled up in a short time.
THE RISE OF UNICORNS
India is having a unicorn flurry this year, and over $20 billion have been raised in 2021 so far. Yesterday, the crypto trading platform CoinSwitch Kuber raised $260 million in a Series C funding round led by American tech venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), Coinbase Ventures and its existing investors Paradigm, Ribbit Capital, Sequoia Capital India and Tiger Global.
A day before, animal protein brand start-up Licious became India's 30th unicorn in 2021, with a fresh $52 million fundraise in its Series G round at a $1 billion valuation led by IIFL AMC's Late Stage Tech Fund. Last week, online learning platform Vedantu had raised $100 million at a valuation of $1 billion, becoming the third edtech company to enter the unicorn club in 2021.
According to the tech industry body Nasscom, India's startup ecosystem may see a total of 76 unicorns by 2021-end. Between 2018-2020, a total of 21 startups attained a valuation of $1 billion in India. However, the number has increased significantly this year.
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