Digital-first consumer brands are the way forward. Or so Bengaluru-based Fireside Ventures believes it to be. The multi-stage venture fund (VC), with a focus on consumer brands, has announced the close of its second fund (Fireside Fund II) at ₹863 crore (approximately $118 million).
Backing the fund are marquee investors, including the Government of India’s Fund of Funds for Startups (FFS) operated by SIDBI (Small Industries Development Bank of India). The other big investors include Investment Corporation of Dubai, Nippon India Digital Innovation AIF, Bajaj Holdings & Investment Limited, ITC Limited, L'Oréal, Pidilite group, Premji Invest and a large U.S. university endowment.
“We are now eager to go all out and partner with young Indian entrepreneurs who are creating exciting new digital-first brands across the consumption spectrum and are consciously building brands that focus on good for consumers and good for the world,” said Kanwaljit Singh, founder and managing partner, Fireside Ventures. And the pandemic seems to have validated its digital-first consumer brand strategy.
The VC firm believes that the over-arching trends and shifts seen in consumer demand—for an extra dose of “wellness” and “goodness”—in the products and services they consume, are here to stay. Its plan is to invest in 15-20 consumer brand startups.
Since inception, in 2017, Fireside has invested in 22 brands: Slurrp Farm, FableStreet, SARVA Yoga, Gynoveda, boAt, Mamaearth, Vahdam Teas, Yoga Bar, Samosa Singh, SLAY Coffee, Design Café, Bombay Shaving Company, Magic Crate, Pipa Bella, Azani, BluSpider, The Ayurveda Experience, Kapiva, Tasty Tales, AnKa SumMor, Ninety One Cycles (previously known as Frog Cycles), and Kwik24.
“At Fireside Ventures, we are equally proud of all the founders from our portfolio companies, it is indeed remarkable to see their sheer guts and grit last year as they pivoted, planned, and programmed themselves to survive and be successful as well,” added Singh. “A large number of our portfolio companies saw positive tailwinds during and post the pandemic.”
The VC firm’s first fund saw a corpus of ₹340 crore (about $50 million). About 95% of the investible corpus of Fund I has been deployed and the remaining 5% is reserved for follow-ons.