Instant food brand Yu has raised INR 20 crore in a follow-on Series A round following its last fundraise in November 2022. The round was led by renowned public market investor Ashish Kacholia and Asian Paints Promoter Group (Manish Choksi, Varun Vakil).
The company plans to utilize the funds to expand its manufacturing capacity and explore various product categories and segments, as outlined in a press release.
The brand aims to broaden its reach by establishing a nationwide distribution network within the next 12 months. In addition to strengthening its domestic distribution channels, Yu will consolidate its position in South Africa, where it has already established a presence across 2000 stores.
Founded by Bharat Bhalla and Varun Kapur, Yu is revolutionizing packaged foods by using 100 percent natural ingredients, aiming to replicate the freshness of homemade meals. The brand debuted with instant bowls in 2021 and has since expanded its offerings to include ready-to-cook noodles, pastas, and natural beverages. Last year, the brand introduced its inaugural 100 percent Natural Coconut Water and plans to further enhance its beverage selection this summer. With significant business momentum, Yu has achieved remarkable growth, with sales of 1.5 million units in Q3-FY24 (October-December 2023), marking over 200 percent growth quarter over quarter.
Sharing their excitement, Founders Bharat Bhalla and Varun Kapur jointly expressed, “Since the last fundraise, Yu has grown exponentially having deepened its penetration in the Indian market and opened up several export markets like South Africa where Yu now has a nationwide presence. It is extremely heartening to see a young Make in India brand successfully selling its products in global markets like South Africa, the Middle East, and Australia. The funds raised will allow us to augment our manufacturing capacity and grow our distribution in India and globally.”
In addition to Ashish Kacholia and the Asian Paints Promoter Group (Manisha Choksi, Varun Vakil), Yu boasts a roster of investors including Indian cricketer Hardik Pandya, Sameer Mehta (Founder of Boat), Srikrishna Dwaram (Partner at True North Private Equity), Nikhil Srivastava (PAG Private Equity), and the DPIIT’s Start Up India Seed Fund.
According to a report from the marketing intelligence platform IndustryARC, the packaged food market in India is projected to reach $3.4 billion by 2027. This growth is expected to occur at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.6% during the forecast period of 2022-2027. The report also indicates that the ready meals segment is anticipated to experience the highest growth rate, with a CAGR of 5.3% over the same forecast period.