This Early-Stage Investment Firm with Fire in its Belly to Fund India's Consumer Startups is Doing so at a Fiery Pace
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An early-stage investment platform for consumer brands, Fireside Ventures is among the new investment companies in India that are riding on big opportunities that lie in the Indian startup space.
The India-focussed investment firm boasts of a rich portfolio of startups from teas to toys and shaving cream to samosas. Mamaearth, Yoga Bar, Magic Crate, Pipa+Bella and BoAt, Vahdam Teas, Bombay Shaving Company, Goodness!, Kwik 24, Samosa Singh, DesignCafe, and Alpha Vector make to Fireside Ventures’ investment portfolio.
While speaking to Entrepreneur India, Fireside Ventures’ partner Kannan Sitaram said the firm sees big opportunity right at the top of the consumption pyramid.
“If we go a few years back, India was talking about middle class and emerging rural consumption behavior and it was catered by lots of big companies as we are talking about what is happening at top of the pyramid, what people call the millennial consumer, we are talking about the values, what they look for, in a product or experience, what is the yardstick, how they want to spend their money all of it is substantially different from a consumer perception,” says Sitaram.
He believes millennial are the consumers of tomorrow and this group is a relatively small part but it accounts for disproportionate part of consumer spend and it will expand much faster than any other consumer in the country.
First Fund Allocation
In its first fund, Fireside Ventures raised INR 340 cr this year. Sitaram gave in some details about how the firm wishes to allocate this money.
“These are funds for specialists and their company to invest in consumer space, in consumer products and where they see a branding opportunity – that’s the scope of the fund,” explains Sitaram. The fund has already completed 16 transactions.
Started in 2017, Fireside Ventures’ first fund has roped in investors such as Premji Invest, Mariwala family office, Emami, RP-Sanjiv Goenka family office, Sunil Munjal’s Hero Enterprise investment office and Unilever Ventures.
Sectors to Watch Out For
Sitaram outlined 3 sectors that he sees will witness explosive growth.
Food – Food is definitely one of the most important factors says Sitaram.
Sitaram thinks millennial consumer is very interested in the food they consume.
“The fact is that as we are not a large food package economy still and it is sort of being borne out by economic trick analysis across the economy is that as per capita income is increasing, different sectors flourish at different stages. Food is one of the categories and it’s clearly an area,” says Sitaram.
Recreation – Another important factor is the recreational area.
Sitaram thinks that’s the area where consumers are investing in. “When I was growing up, going on a holiday meant means going on a pilgrimage for two days like going to Tirupati Temple and that was a holiday. Now people take good holidays, take photographs, want to put up photographs on Instagram, Facebook and so on and that's the trend that go into the products space as well,” says Sitaram.
Children – Due to smaller families, there is more involvement with the kids so we cater to them is definitely big a big opportunity.
Millenials are conscious about how they will bring up their children – “they want to bring up their children in a very different way unlike my parents have brought me up. So for as an example, we have invested in a company called a ‘Magic Crate ‘and Magic Crate is about a toy crate that goes to consumers every month. The interesting thing about the toy crate is that it is connected to the CBSE curriculum, and therefore the kid is doing something that doesn’t feel like education, it feels like fun, he is learning something and the child is not on phones or tablets,” says Sitaram.