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Exclusive: Sixth Sense bets on Kurkure snack maker Hindustan Foods

December 9, 2016

Sixth Sense Ventures, a consumer sector-centric venture firm, has invested in Hindustan Foods Ltd (HFL), the vendor that makes PepsiCo Inc’s Kurkure snack brand, the investment firm’s founder told VCCircle.

Nikhil Vora said the Goa-based food company fits well into Sixth Sense’s strategy of backing first-generation entrepreneurs operating in large consumer-centric categories. HFL CEO Sameer Kothari also confirmed the deal.

This marks the second new deal by the VC firm after it completed the fundraising process for its debut investment vehicle in June. It earlier invested Soothe Healthcare, the maker of Paree sanitary napkin.

Vora said Sixth Sense has put around Rs 8 crore ($1.1 million) to acquire a 16% stake in Mumbai-listed HFL. He added that the company is well poised to grow its business in multiple categories.

HFL was earlier owned by Dempo Group, which sold a significant stake in the company to Vanity Case Group in 2013. Vanity Case operates 13 facilities in India and is among the largest contract manufacturers for consumer products.

HFL makes Kurkure for PepsiCo and baby food products Farex, Easum and First Food for Danone. Besides PepsiCo and Danone, Vanity Case also works with Reckitt Benckiser, Hindustan Unilever and GlaxoSmithKline to make personal and home care products and processed foods.

Vora said that HFL is looking at some acquisition opportunities to strengthen its manufacturing business and diversify into new product categories.

Sixth Sense’s other deals, debut fund

For the VC firm, HFL is the ninth firm it has backed since it started investing in December 2014 with the debut deal with luxury watch retailer Ethos. The next month, it invested in Cross Roads India Assistance Pvt Ltd, a roadside assistance provider for cars and two wheelers.

The investment firm floated by Nikhil Vora, former managing director of IDFC Securities and its co-head of research, has also invested in, an online marketplace for wedding venues and vendors, and in oral care products company JHS Svendgaard Laboratories Pvt Ltd this year.

In August last year, it invested in media group NDTV’s e-commerce venture Gadgets 360 and auto portal. And in November last year, it backed Grab, a Mumbai-based hyperlocal logistics service provider.

The VC firm made the final close of its debut fund in June raising Rs 125 crore, after resizing the target corpus. It planned to invest in about a dozen companies from this fund, all in the range of Rs 10 crore, Vora had told VCCircle earlier.

Vora is independently also a private investor in several firms including One97 Communications, the firm behind mobile wallet and e-commerce firm Paytm; Kangaroo Kids Education Ltd, which runs Kangaroo Kids Preschool and Billabong High International School; Vini Cosmetics, a consumer goods company which raised funding from Sequoia Capital; sports-focused digital display solutions firm Technology Frontiers, backed by Avigo Capital; and MRO AirWorks, backed by NEA and GTI Capital.