The startup plans to utilise the raised funds to double down on its manufacturing capabilities, product development, hiring new talent and geographic expansion plans.
MasterChow, a ready-to-cook Asian cuisine brand, today announced raising INR 3.5 Cr (462,000 USD) in a seed round led by WEH Ventures. The round also saw participation from prominent angel investors such as Aditya Singh and Ravi Shroff. The startup plans to utilise the raised funds to double down on its manufacturing capabilities, product development, hiring new talent and geographic expansion plans.
Founded in June 2020 by Vidur Kataria and Sidhanth Madan, MasterChow is focused on solving daily woes for two broad categories of demographics. For millennials aged between 25-44 years who are leading fast paced lives, are crunched for time and are looking to experiment with world cuisines, MasterChow is their one-stop solution for both health and taste. The second group is larger joint households preparing comfort meals for different generations, looking to make a shift from the conventional ghar ka khana, yet wanting to keep the health and hygiene quotient high on the plate. Besides providing authentic Asian flavors, MasterChow serves the right fusion of convenience, affordability and sustainability when it comes to cooking meals under ten minutes.
Speaking about the fundraise, Sidhanth Madan, Cofounder, MasterChow said ”We want to be the disruptor brand in the $3 Bn ready-to-cook category specifically focusing on the Asian sauce and condiment market. The covid-19 pandemic has created a shift in consumer preferences for better quality products and for transparency with ingredient sourcing, which has been a great propeller for us.” Sidhanth further added, “With a strategic focus on convenience, our product range offers innovative flavors in an easy to use format. Our customers come from across the board, from young couples, millennials to larger family households spread across different geographies and with the current fundraise, we plan to enter new categories while increasing current manufacturing capabilities and go deeper with our online footprint”.
Rohit Krishna, General Partner, WEH Ventures said “Indians love Chinese & other Asian cuisines, however the reason people don’t venture to cook this at home regularly is because of the lack of high quality ingredients available in the market. When we tried MasterChow sauces for the first time, it became very apparent what the market was missing. We believe they’ll end up leading the RTC market for this segment in the next 3-5 years”.
The brand since inception has been able to serve over three lakh families. It has also witnessed strong traction in tier 1 and tier 2 cities with revenue growing over 10x in the last twelve months. Currently, the brand is shipping to 17,000 pincodes (2800 cities) in India. Their products are currently available on online marketplaces like Amazon, BigBasket, Grofers, Instamart, and offline stores such as Modern Bazaar, etc.
The D2C startup has a team size of 25 members, including the corporate and operations teams, and is planning to double the size of its corporate team over the next 12 months. MasterChow’s existing range of offerings has a strong product market fit and it is looking to scale that on marketplaces, modern/general trade outlets to increase accessibility.
The brand currently offers 3 main categories – All-in-one stir-fry sauces (which combine all aromatics, seasonings etc. to whip up a great Asian stir-fry at home), ready to eat dipping sauces, condiments & an extensive Asian noodle range (Hakka, Udon, Wholewheat etc.). New launches include more innovative flavors of their Stir-Fry Sauce and Ready To Eat Dip Range and signature Chilli Oil Condiments. The brand has also built an in-house content studio to churn out recipe ideas, user generated content and further build their growing digital community.
Deepak Gupta, General Partner, WEH Ventures said “Vidur and Sidhanth have spent the time building a well-loved Asian restaurant brand and bring a lot of insights and skills to the table. They truly embody the founder-market fit as they enable thousands of people to create restaurant quality Asian food easily at home.”
Given the context of the Covid 19 pandemic, more people now prefer to cook at home to control the quality and hygiene of their meals and are actively looking for better-for-you products to make this process easier. The segment has grown exponentially as customers are looking for high quality options to cook high quality meals at home. According to the ‘India Ready-To-Eat Food Market By Segment opportunities report’, the ready-to-cook market has been estimated to grow at a CAGR of more than 16 per cent during 2018-2023 and it is projected to rise to $647 million by 2023.
Source: Business World