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Exclusive: Sixth Sense’s Nikhil Vora backs gourmet food maker

June 14, 2018

Nikhil Vora, founder of consumer sector-focussed venture capital firm Sixth Sense Ventures, has invested in a Mumbai-based specialty food ingredients maker, a person privy to the development told VCCircle.

Vora has invested an undisclosed amount in in Saucery Foods Pvt. Ltd, the person said, asking not to be named. The company offers a variety of spreads, dips and sauces under the Saucery brand. More financial details of the deal couldn’t be ascertained.

The company was launched in 2015 by Gayatri Bhatia, who worked with consumer goods maker Hindustan Unilever Ltd before starting the venture. The company claims its products are free from chemicals, preservatives, artificial flavouring or taste-enhancers. The brand has presence in modern trade stores in Mumbai including Nature’s Basket, Hypercity and Foodhall.

Spice Route Legal acted as the legal adviser to the company for the transaction, the person cited above said. Email queries sent to Vora, Saucery and Spice Route Legal did not elicit any response till the time of publishing this report.

Vora’s previous bets

Vora recently invested in his personal capacity in Gujarat-based Advance Syntex Ltd, which operates under the brand name Midas Glitter.

He was an early investor in One97 Communications Ltd, the parent of digital wallet firm Paytm. He sold his stake in One97 to Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba in May last year, reaping almost 75-fold gains. Around the same time, Vora also exited Kangaroo Kids Education Ltd when the operator of pre-schools and K-12 schools was acquired by EuroKids International Pvt. Ltd.

Vora is also an investor in Fogg deodorant maker Vini Cosmetics, which raised funds from private equity firm WestBridge Capital Partners in September 2017. He has also invested in Noida-based Soothe Healthcare Pvt. Ltd, the firm behind Paree brand of sanitary napkins.

Besides, Vora has invested in Avigo Capital-backed sports-focussed digital display solutions firm Technology Frontiers and aircraft maintenance and repair company AirWorks, which is backed by private equity firms New Enterprise Associates and GTI Capital.

Separately, Vora’s Sixth Sense Ventures struck two investments from its second fund in March – AVG Logistics and Eupheus Learning. The second fund has a target corpus of Rs 350 crore ($54 million) and was aiming to mark the first close by March this year.

Sixth Sense’s first fund had a corpus of Rs 125 crore and backed 10 companies. These include gaming arcade operator Smaaash Entertainment Pvt. Ltd; Hindustan Foods Ltd, which makes PepsiCo Inc.’s Kurkure snack brand; oral care products company JHS Svendgaard Laboratories Pvt. Ltd, and hyperlocal logistics service provider Grab.

Other deals in food sector

The packaged food segment, particularly the ready-to-cook category, has seen considerable investor interest in the recent past. Last month, Y-Cook India Pvt Ltd raised $5 million in its Series B round of funding led by Dutch impact fund Oikocredit and Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal-backed venture capital firm 021 Capital.

Around the same time, US-based private equity firm General Atlantic LLC inked a deal to pick up a majority stake in a Mumbai-based packaged food products manufacturer, marking its first control transaction in the country.

In January, Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia invested Rs 152 crore ($23 million) in Southern Health Foods, which markets its products under the brand ‘Manna Foods’.

In October last year, Veeba Foods, another gourmet food maker, had raised over $6 million (Rs 40 crore) in its Series C round of funding led by existing investor Verlinvest, a private Belgian family investment company.