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 everyday eating guilt-free and change the way the world consumes comfort food for the better, using mom-approved ingredients found in every kitchen.
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 and 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 its inception a year ago.
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 of 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 percent maida free, and 100 percent 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 and Revenue functions) at Rostaa; ex-HT Media, Edelman India), and Monish Debnath (previously the Lead Strategist and 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 - of the 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 Rs 15,000 crore while also maintaining double-digit annual growth.
Bhuman Dani, Founder, and 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?”
Apoorva Ranjan Sharma, Co-Founder, Venture Catalysts and 9Unicorns said, “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.”