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Cloud Kitchen Startup Becomes Third India Unicorn Born This Week

·2 min read

(Bloomberg) -- Rebel Foods Pvt has become at least the third Indian startup to achieve a billion-dollar valuation this week after securing $175 million in a funding round led by the sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority.

Existing investors Coatue Management and Evolvence Group joined the funding at a $1.4 billion valuation for the Mumbai-headquartered company, which operates cloud kitchens and calls itself the world’s largest internet restaurant company. The startup said on Thursday it’s exploring an IPO within the next two years.

The startup will focus on growing its international presence, building its ordering and delivery technology and acquire more restaurant brands.

Rebel Foods, which is also backed by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Sequoia Capital, delivers butter chicken and paneer cottage cheese-topped pizzas to millions of Indians daily. It said it’s growing at 100% annually and moving toward profitability with an annual run rate of over $150 million. It operates more than 45 brands from Behrouz Biryani to Ovenstory Pizza and Faasos wraps across 10 countries including India, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia.

Internet restaurants, which operate out of non-prime real estate and only deliver to customers, compete with traditional restaurants that need waiters, table seating and cashiers, all of which result in high overheads. The pandemic has given a boost to such startups with customers preferring to order in. Low costs and fast scale-up are allowing such chains to grow quickly. Rebel was founded in 2011 by former McKinsey & Co alumnus Jaydeep Barman and his friend Kallol Banerjee. Last year, it struck a deal with American quick service chain Wendy’s to open 250 cloud kitchens. Meat-delivery startup Licious and crypto-exchange CoinSwitch Kuber also announced funding at billion-dollar valuations this week.

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