Hyderabad: Sashi Reddi, who turned an early-stage investor after selling independent testing services company AppLabs Technologies Pvt. Ltd to Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC) in 2011, is investing in Rs.3 crore in Hello Curry, a quick service restaurant (QSR) chain catering Indian cuisine.
Reddi, who is investing in the start-up through his seed-stage venture fund, Sri Capital, is picking an undisclosed stake in the company with this investment.
Hello Curry will use the amount to set up two stand-alone stores, four store-in-stores and two satellite kitchens across Hyderabad, its home base, by the year-end, said Raju Bhupati, director of Red Sprout Foods Pvt. Ltd, the holding company of Hello Curry.
It will then expand to southern cities like Chennai and Bangalore by December next year after raising another round of investment in the range of Rs.40-60 crore from existing or new investors, Bhupati said.
Both the cities, like Hyderabad, where Hello Curry successfully piloted its unique food delivery model for three months, house large populations of information technology workers, who prefer eating out and have leeway for discretionary spending.
Hello Curry serves Indian food, including biryani, kebabs and curries paired with rice and parathas with a 30 minute delivery promise. The food is pre-processed to make cooking easier, enabling preparation in two minutes flat, Penumatsa Sandeep, director at Red Sprout Foods said. Interestingly, Hello Curry claims not to use any preservatives or artificial colours in its food.
This is Sri Capital’s first investment in food-based segment. Its investments have so far spanned technology, media and education sectors. “Hello Curry has the potential to become the McDonald’s and Dominos Pizza of Indian food,” said Reddi. “It has the potential to change the way we think of Indian food.”
The co-founders worked with a team of food technologists over nine months to standardize the food making process for consistent quality. By slightly tweaking the process, however, Hello Curry can accommodate local flavours, giving it the potential to expand across the country, Sandeep said.
Sri Capital has already exhausted half of its Rs.100 crore fund to invest in 15 start-ups in India and the US, Reddi said. It plans to invest another Rs.20 crore by December.
Bhupati was a former colleague of Reddi at AppLabs. After heading the testing practice at CSC for a year post acquisition, Bhupati joined Adaequare Info Pvt. Ltd as chief operating officer, when he co-founded Red Sprout Foods. He continues to work at Adequare.