Investcorp backs Indian start-up FreshToHome

The asset management firm said that the e-commerce start-up is 'a beneficiary of shifting demand' amid the pandemic

Bahrain-listed private equity and alternative asset manager Investcorp said on Sunday it invested in India’s e-commerce start-up FreshToHome, as part of a $121 million funding round alongside other investors.

The Bangalore-based start-up, which sells fresh fish, meat and vegetables to customers by sourcing directly from fishermen and farmers, has seen business boom in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak. FreshToHome currently processes about 1.5 million orders per month and has an $85m annualised sales run rate on its platform. The company, which also received backing from the Investment Corporation of Dubai, is using some of the capital raised to fund further expansion across the Gulf.

Investcorp said that the start-up “is a direct beneficiary of shifting demand” as more people buy fish and meat online in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“At Investcorp, we look at companies who redefine the category in which they operate with proven top-line and bottom-line impact,” Gaurav Sharma, head of private equity at Investcorp India, said. “We believe that FreshToHome fits this bill perfectly and is poised to achieve significant scale.”

Investcorp, which counts Mubadala Investment Company as its biggest shareholder, is aiming to beef up its technology investments in order to capitalise on the growing reliance on technology in the wake of the pandemic.

The company plans to allocate "a significant proportion" of the $1billion-$2bn of annual private equity investments planned over the next two years to technology assets, Gilbert Kamieniecky, the head of Investcorp’s technology private equity business, told The National in an interview in May.

In India, Investcorp is investing in mid-market companies in consumption-linked sectors, including consumer tech, healthcare, financial services and technology.

In addition to FreshToHome, the Bahrain-based asset manager has invested in Indian companies such as InCred, ASG, Zolo, Citykart, Intergrow Brands, Bewakoof.com and NephroPlus.

Some of the early backers of FreshToHome include Zynga founder Mark Pincus, Google Ventures' chief executive David Krane, Pete Briger, chairman of Fortress and Abdul Aziz Al-Ghurair, chairman of Mashreq Bank, among others.

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