Food-tech start-up WayCool on Tuesday said it has acquired a significant equity stake in Benani Foods (Freshey’s) – a Chennai based manufacturer of ready-to-cook products and food ingredients. The Chennai start-up bought the stakes of angel investors, including that of TVS Electronics for an undisclosed sum. TVS Electronics had invested in Benani Foods at an early stage.
Benani Foods manufactures and markets value-added, ready-to-cook products such as idli and dosa batter, paneer, idiyappams and papads. The company retails its products under the brand Freshey’s and caters to 1,250 retail outlets and around 50 enterprise clients. Freshey’s will continue to operate under the same brand name after the acquisition.
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WayCool’s supply chain mechanism and distribution network will enable entry of Freshy’s across other markets of south India as well, as part of WayCool’s product portfolio. Sanjay Dasari, co-founder, WayCool Foods said, “In the past few years, we have established scale in procurement and distribution of raw staples and fresh produce. At the same time, our clients are increasingly experimenting with value added, ready-to-cook products derived from these, such as pre-mixes and batters, to simplify their own operations. Our investment into Freshey’s will help us serve this need better.”
WayCool serves a network of around 5,000 clients with 200 tonne of food products every day from a base of 35,000 farmers. Venkatesh Deivanayagam, founder of Benani Foods said, “We are excited to welcome WayCool aboard. We see strong synergies between the two companies, given their deep procurement ability and wide distribution footprint and our large pipeline of distinctive products. Together, we will be able to build a large, differentiated brand in the ready-to-cook segment. We will use the current equity to further cement our position in Chennai, and subsequently expand our presence into rest of southern India. We will also use the investment to accelerate the launch of new products.”
Earlier this month, WayCool had acquired the physical distribution business of Aalgro Foods, a Bengaluru-based B2B company in fruit retail packing and distribution space. The acquisitions are a part of WayCool Foods’ strategic investment opportunities into companies that align with their strategy of building out a full stack food supply chain.
WayCool had raised Rs 120 crore as a combination of equity and debt from LGT Impact, prominent angel investors, and institutional lenders, including Northern Arc Capital and Caspian in January.
Founded in July 2015 by Karthik Jayaraman and Sanjay Dasari, WayCool is a fastest growing food distribution platform leveraging innovative technology to scale-up and operate a complex supply chain. The company operates a full-stack, broadline product range across multiple channels and categories like fresh produce, staples and dairy.