Ikayu Foodlabs Pvt Ltd-owned instant meal bowl company Yu has raised ₹20 crore in its series A funding through a mix of equity and venture debt from independent investor Ashish Kacholia. The round also saw participation from existing investors, Asian Paints‘ promoter group Manish Choksi and Varun Vakil.
With the funding, the company said it will double its capacity and ramp up its existing offline-online distribution in India, while continuing to expand its global footprint across markets like Africa, Middle East and the US.The current round of funding also saw participation from DPIITs Start Up India Seed Fund scheme which approved Yu under its ₹945 crore program that funds tech-enabled start-ups, it said.
Founded by Bharat Bhalla and Varun Kapur, the company, they said has developed a range of 15 products across noodles, pastas, oats and halwa categories. It also works with SpiceJet and Akasa Air airlines.
The company said in a statement that it is seeing significant customer traction with over 200% growth quarter on quarter growth.
Bharat said, “It has been heartening and motivating to receive a tangible vote of confidence from a diverse and highly eminent set of investors within 1 year of the launch of our business. Their experience will allow us to increase its production capacity to over eight million meal bowls per annum while expanding our offline / online distribution in India.
“The next 12 months will also see us aggressively expanding our presence in global markets like the US, Africa and Middle East. Additionally, it provides us the capacity and resources to penetrate alternate channels like airlines, railways, hospitals, universities and defense services where our 100% natural meal bowls are truly disrupting the segment." added Kapur.
The company currently has a 24,000 sq. ft. facility in Gurugram and about 100 employees. It also recently ventured into the non-vegetarian category. It is now looking to launch 10 more products over the next 12 months to complement its existing product portfolio.
According to analytics website Statista, revenue from the ready-to-eat meals segment amounted to $56.93 billion in 2022. The market is expected to grow annually by 9.59% (CAGR 2022-2027) in the country. Comparatively, the most revenue is generated in China which accounted for $122.40 billion in 2022.
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