Rebel Foods, which operates a network of cloud kitchen brands such as Behrouz Biryani, Mandarin Oak, Ovenstory Pizza, and Faasos, has raised $175 million in a Series F round led by sovereign fund Qatar Investment Authority, with participation from existing investors Coatue and Evolvence.
This round catapults the company to the unicorn club, with a valuation of $1.4 billion, making it the 31st unicorn to emerge from India in 2021, in what has been a record-breaking year for startup funding.
Founded by Jaydeep Barman and Kallol Banerjee, Rebel Foods started out as Faasos, a chain of quick-service restaurants (QSR) that sold kebab rolls, with an online ordering option. High rentals coupled with the realization that a majority of their orders were coming from the online channel forced a rethink of the business model. They shuttered outlets and pivoted to a cloud-kitchen-only business in 2016, delivering a range of cuisines from kitchens operating in spaces that had lower rents.
It is now one of the largest internet restaurant companies with over a dozen brands that serve biryani to Chinese to pizza to wraps to desserts, through food delivery platforms such as Zomato and Swiggy, apart from its own apps. It counts Sequoia Capital India, Lightbox ventures, Coatue, Goldman Sachs, Gojek, and Uber founder Travis Kalanick as investors and was valued at over $800 million in its last round of funding in 2020.
Barman had told Moneycontrol in an interview in May this year that the unicorn tag was a given and that it will also look at listing soon.
"The last round was absolutely close so I would expect that we will be a unicorn (privately funded firm valued at a billion dollars and more), otherwise we are not doing a good job. We are more focused on an IPO in 18 months. We will be raising a private round between now and then but nothing is finalized yet," Barman had said in the interview, adding that they are awaiting clarifications on Government regulations on the direct overseas listing. If that comes through, it will list on NYSE or Nasdaq, otherwise, it will list in India.
Rebel Foods has built 45+ brands (own + partners) across 10 countries - India, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Philippines, and Bangladesh, and operates 4000+ internet restaurants. With the fresh round of funding, Rebel Foods said it will continue to focus on growing its international footprint, technology, and brand acquisitions.
Ravi Golani, Chief Strategy Officer, Rebel Foods says, “The food-tech space has evolved towards better personalisation, innovation, and complete transparency which Rebel Foods continues to pioneer. We are excited to welcome QIA, which has a track record of being a long-term supportive investor. With this round of funding, we will continue to serve newer customer food missions powered by technology and automation.”
Piyush Kakkad, Chief Financial Officer, Rebel Foods adds, “While we are excited about becoming the next unicorn, our focus continues to remain on improving customer experience the Rebel way. This round of funding will be re-invested in building our technology, increasing our global presence, and also acquiring new brands. Rebel Foods is working towards an IPO in the next 18-24 months."Moneycontrol
learns that Barman and Banerjee took off on a trekking expedition after closing the funding round, which is why the announcement did not carry their quotes.