VC fund Fireside Ventures gets backing from PremjiInvest, Mariwalas

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Fireside Ventures has secured venture capital fund from some of Indias top businesses, including promoter Azim Premji’s PremjiInvest, consumer goods maker Marico’s Mariwalas and RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group, said the ET report.

Fireside is a venture of former senior managing director, Helion Venture Partners, Kanwaljit Singh; the venture has already raised Rs 180 crore to back early-stage startups in the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector. The fund aims to raise a total Rs 300 crore within six months.

“Large composition of the fund will be Indian family offices, who found resonance in what I wanted to do,” said Singh. Family offices like till now have been primarily investing technology focused venture capital funds, but the investment in Fireside indicates a broader appetite for early stage companies among them.

Other key investors in the fund include Kolkata-based consumer goods company Emami and WestBridge Capital, one of the largest homegrown investment firms with more than $2 billion in assets under management.

Singh’s angel investments portfolio includes Paperboat drinks maker Hector Beverages, ice cream brand Hokey Pokey and online meat delivery startup Licious.

Startups in this space do not have a lot of funding options at an early stage, but can be built in a capital-efficient manner, Singh said.

“Brands have till now been built by either multi-national corporations or companies that are family-owned, but now we are seeing them being built by first-generation entrepreneurs,” said Singh.

The venture plans to build a portfolio of about 30 companies, in which of which it will invest about Rs 1 crore to begin with. It will increase the total investment in each startup to about Rs 15 crore depending on their progress.

Singh started Fireside as a family office in 2015 after leaving Helion but now has started building a team, hiring Vinay Singh as principal. Vinay Singh was cofounder of vehicle services startup Stepni, which was acquired last year by classifieds website Quikr.

DSG Consumer Partners and Sixth Sense Ventures are also focusing on the same space as Fireside Ventures. Kanwaljit Singh believes that the market is big enough for several investors and that large consumer goods companies will become acquirers in this market.

Image credit: Flickr

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