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TenderCuts Raises $15 Mn From Paragon Partners And NABVENTURES The funding will be used to expand the company's current operations and pursue organic and inorganic growth opportunities

By Prabhjeet Bhatla

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The meat and seafood brand TenderCuts on Monday announced that they have raised $15 million in a round led by mid-market PE fund Paragon Partners with participation from agritech venture capital (VC) fund NABVENTURES.

The funding will allow the company to expand its current operations and pursue organic and inorganic growth opportunities. The funds will also allow the company to invest in scaling up its supply chain and technology infrastructure to support innovation and accessibility of its products and services.

Founded in 2016 by Nishanth Chandran, the company is revolutionizing the way meat and seafood is sold in India. Indian consumers, unlike their western counterparts, prefer fresh (never frozen) meat and seafood. Also, many consumers have specific preferences in terms of the cuts of their meat and fish.

"It is heartening to see TenderCuts become a market leader in the cities it operates in after it has managed to transform the way fresh meat and seafood is sold in these markets. It is an affirmation of the unique omnichannel and seamless supply chain model in the sector. This investment will pave the way for us to enter new markets and further establish our omnichannel network. We are delighted to partner with Paragon Partners and NABVENTURES and look forward to tapping into their significant experience in growing consumer businesses in the retail, agri, food and beverage, and e-commerce sectors," commented Nishanth Chandran, founder, and chief executive officer, TenderCuts.

The platform provides freshly cut meat and seafood to customers through their neighborhood stores which cater not only to walk-in customers but also online shoppers. All of which is driven by a fully integrated supply chain fuelled by proprietary technology.

"We are excited to partner with Nishanth to realize his vision of revolutionizing the way meat and seafood is sold in India. We believe that TenderCuts has an opportunity to leverage its robust supply chain of farmers and fishermen and its omnichannel strategy to efficiently cater to the mass market. Given our team's deep experience in retail and e-commerce, we are confident that we can help TenderCuts achieve significant scale and accelerate the shift to the organized segment. We are also excited to announce that this will be the first investment from our second fund," shared Siddharth Parekh, co-founder, and senior partner, Paragon Partners.

Stringent focus on quality ensures that customers get the most hygienic and tastiest meat. Besides, TenderCuts is the only branded meat company offering the freshest meat to consumers – either in stores or delivered to their doorstep within two hours of it first being cut, said the company.

"Our investment in TenderCuts is a testament to NABVENTURES' commitment to give a big push to startups operating in the agri and allied space in India. We believe that TenderCuts' omnichannel strategy gives it a clear edge over online-only/store-backed retail players," stated Dr. G R Chintala, chairman, NABARD, and NABVENTURES.

Alvarez & Marsal and Klaw were the commercial and financial diligence and legal advisors respectively to Paragon Partners, Acuity Law advised NABVENTURES while investment banker IndigoEdge facilitated the transaction.

"The direct-to-consumer meat market is at a nascent stage in India with less than 1 per cent penetration. TenderCuts has been able to build a differentiated business model with omnichannel capability enabling TenderCuts to offer quality meat and seafood to the offline segment as well which is around 96 per cent of the market. NABVENTURES would leverage its network of FPOs and farmers to optimize the TenderCuts supply chain by sourcing farm-fresh meat, provide additional income-earning opportunities for our farmers and build India's largest meat brand over the next five years," added Rajesh Ranjan, chief executive officer, NABVENTURES.

Today, TenderCuts has 25 stores across Chennai and Hyderabad which cater to walk-in and online customers. The company's core product portfolio includes fresh chicken, mutton, seafood, marinades, pickles, and eggs. Besides, the company also has an expansive ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook product range comprising cold cuts, sausages, kebabs, shawarmas.

India's meat and seafood market is worth $100 billion in size; however, over 95 per cent of the market is unorganized. The organized meat segment has seen a rapid acceleration of business during the pandemic driven by an increasing number of people focussing on quality, health, hygiene, and convenience.

Prabhjeet Bhatla

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