Pune-based Walko Food Co, which owns the NIC ice cream brand, has raised $11 million in a funding round led by Jungle Ventures. This comes after the quick service retail (QSR) company raised $4.8 million in funding from JM Financials in 2021.
Co-founders Jeetendra Bhandari, Sanjiv Shah and Raj Bhandari, NIC will utilise the newly-raised capital to increase Walko’s production capabilities. It will also enhance its product offerings and widen its existing distribution range in addition invest on efficiency management systems, which include enterprise resource planning software (ERP).
According to a report by the Economic Times (ET), NIC operates 300 cloud stores across 100 cities in India. It claims to have registered a 90 per cent CAGR in the last five years. It also claimed that a large portion of its business came from food tech platforms like Swiggy and Zomato.
In the financial year (FY) 2022, NIC registered Rs 128.6 crore from Rs 55.6 crore in FY21 in revenues from operations. It witnessed a 2.3x increase in operating revenue. The company turned profitable in FY21 and the profit increased to Rs 27 lakh in FY22.
“The big change happened in 2018, and because of the experience of selling through Box8, we thought getting into Swiggy would be a game changer and we were right,” Bhandari told ET.
“New retail channels will give rise to new brands,” said Arpit Beri, principal of India investments, at Jungle Ventures.
“20 to 30 years back, many brands rose through modern trade and they expanded into general trade later. Then came the e-commerce boom through Amazon and Flipkart and many direct-to-consumer brands came into the picture, like Mamaearth, Boat, and Atomberg. Now, we have a third retail channel that has emerged and NIC is among the best brands to have come out of that,” he added.