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Food-tech startup Idea Chakki gets funding from Ratan Tata

Ratan Tata

Ratan Tata

Food-tech startup Idea Chakki Pvt. Ltd has secured an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus of Tata Sons Ltd.

The Delhi-based firm has also tied up with Enablers, a fundraising platform for startups, for its next round of funding, it said in a statement.

Idea Chakki said it will use the funds to expand operations to new areas, build its team and strengthen technology. The startup targets premium restaurants in the Delhi-NCR region, providing them with digital video menus and allowing customers to gift food and beverage experiences through its offering Dash.

Besides expanding its presence to other parts of the country, the company plans to set up its first overseas office in Paris.

Idea Chakki was set up in 2013 by Monica Narula, Gunjan Mehrish and Noopur Tiwari, all former executives of media house NDTV. It released Dash as a vertical in June.

At present, six food and beverage outlets, both standalone and restaurants at hotels, use Dash. The firm intends to increase that number to 30 outlets across India by the end of the year. The application is available only on iOS and will be launched on Android by the end of the year.

Since retiring as the head of the Tata Group in 2012, Ratan Tata has backed 36 startups across sectors such as healthcare, fashion, clean energy and social enterprise, and the number keeps rising. He was the top angel investor in 2015 and also in the first half of this year.

Tata’s most recent investments were in gaming startup MadRat in June and in mobile security startup Appknox in August. Also in August, Tata’s investment firm RNT Associates got regulatory approval to set up a fund with the University of California to back startups.

The funding for Idea Chakki comes at a time when the food-tech segment in India has seen many players shutting down operations as they struggled to create sustainable business models. Firms such as Frsh.com, iTiffin, Zuper Meal, MealHopper, Zeppery and Bite Club have closed or curtailed operations, though a few startups have raised funds as well.

In August, Mumbai-based packaged Yumlane raised nearly Rs 6.6 crore ($1 million) in a seed round of funding led by Flipkart co-founder and CEO Binny Bansal and others. Bengaluru-based food-tech startup Petoo raised $500,000 in the same month from existing investors, Infosys co-founders SD Shibulal and Kris Gopalakrishnan, as well as a clutch of angel investors.

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