Venture Catalysts Group, India’s first integrated incubator and a leading early-stage investment platform for startups, along with other marquee investors led this round of investment for WickedGud. WickedGud is a D2C health food brand that is on a mission to make every day eating guilt-free and change the way the world consumes comfort food for the better, using mom-approved ingredients found in every kitchen.
“WickedGud’s novel initiative to bring healthy options for pastas and noodles into a market where the consumer base is largely young, health-conscious, and family oriented is a cause Venture Catalysts is thoroughly excited to be a part of. We want to further help the brand in this empowering journey to avail healthy alternatives to junk food for Indian households”, Dr. Apoorva Ranjan Sharma, Co-Founder, Venture Catalysts & 9Unicorns said.
This round of Venture Catalysts comes in as an addendum to the $ 1 Million seed round secured by WickedGud earlier this year in their seed round. The round also saw participation from investors such as Bunty Sajdeh (MD Cornerstone Sport & Entertainment Pvt Ltd), Sahil Gilani (MD Gits Foods), Binoy Khimji (MD UBR Capital), and others. With this investment, WickedGud has raised a total of $ 1.6 Million since their inception a year ago.
Reflecting on successfully securing funds in this round, Bhuman Dani, Founder & CEO of WickedGud said, “WickedGud is on a mission to unjunk India, one kitchen at a time. Our core offering is Wicked Taste and Gud ingredients. Why should anyone worry about their nourishment quotient while having a moment with his/her favorite bowl of indulgence?”
Launched in October 2021, WickedGud sells high-protein pasta made of lentils (dal), Brown rice (chawal), and Chickpea (chana) – the chief constituents of an average Indian meal – among other super grains. In August 2022, the brand launched its instant noodle portfolio, a category that is in desperate need for healthier alternatives while being dominated by legacy brands. WickedGud noodles are made with the goodness of oats, jowar, lentil, brown rice, and whole wheat, and are thereby 100% maida free, 100% oil free, while also being free of MSG and other harmful chemicals that are frequently used by incumbents. The brand claims to have sold more than 25,000 packs, PAN India, in little less than 6 weeks- showcasing exponential growth in a category dominated by stalwarts.
WickedGud was founded by Bhuman Dani (MBA – INSEAD; ex-BCG London, previously the Co-Founder at TGL Co.), Soumalya Biswas (previously the COO (Brand & Revenue functions) at Rostaa; ex- HT Media, Edelman India), and Monish Debnath (previously the Lead Strategist & VP Planning at Havas Worldwide, Ex-DDB, BBH, JWT). The company also has Rinka Banerjee as an Advisor. Rinka spent more than 15 years with Unilever – her latest role as the Director – R&D Foods division for their South Asia business. She will help the company build the R&D capabilities for the product portfolio.
Indulgence in tasty food and obtaining wholesome nutrition have often been viewed as opposing markers on a spectrum. WickedGud poses a healthy solution to this conundrum, bringing high quality nutritional offerings to consumers in the form of delicious Pasta and Instant Noodles. The market size in India for these categories is way past 15,000CR while also maintaining a double-digit annual growth.
Venture Catalysts is India’s 1st integrated incubator for startups. It combines capital, mentoring and network for startups and has a presence in 47 cities across India with international presence in UAE, HK, UK, USA, Canada and Singapore. Venture Catalysts invests in the range of INR 2 – 15 crores per startup through a network of HNIs, Family Offices, CXOs, etc.