Bengaluru: Food technology start-up Innerchef, which operates in the ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat meals segments, has acqui-hired two food start-ups, Flavour Labs in Gurgaon and EatOnGo in Bengaluru, signalling further consolidation in the food tech segment starved of cash after investors clawed back on investments late last year.
Acqui-hiring is essentially done for the target company’s talent pool more than its products and services.
The acquisition of Flavour Labs, a food truck company, will help InnerChef enter the mobile kitchen segment, while EatOnGo, which specialises in breakfasts, will help the company expand its presence in Bengaluru.
“These acquisitions will help InnerChef deepen its offerings to the two of the fastest growing markets in India, National Capital Region and Bangalore. We are also acquiring awesome talent who share our passion for food and technology,” Rajesh Sawhney, co-founder of InnerChef, said in a statement on Wednesday.
After the acquisition, EatOnGo founder Udit Saran will head supply chain at InnerChef while Flavour Labs founder Nandita Shetty will head new launches.
EatOnGo was launched by Saran and Taru Raaj Agarwal in May 2015 while Flavour Labs, which started operations in 2014, was founded by Nandita Shetty, Rohan Rajgharia, Ankur Agarwal and Vasanth Kamath.
Sawhney founded InnerChef in April 2015 with Bal DiGhent and Sanjeev Singhal in April 2015. In September last year, the company raised Rs.11 crore in a pre-Series A funding round from a clutch of investors including redBus founder Phanindra Sama and Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma among others.
Apart from ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat meals, InnerChef operates a hyperlocal marketplace for desserts sourced from home bakers and bakeries in Delhi, Gurgaon and Bengaluru.
The acquisitions come at a time when venture capital firms have become more cautious about investments. According to industry experts, the mandate has now shifted to earning revenue and reducing cash burn, as against splurging millions of dollars on customer acquisition.
Several food tech start-ups have shut shop following a slowdown in investment while some have been acquired by well-capitalized rivals. While Internet-first kitchen Spoonjoy (Emvito Technologies Pvt. Ltd) was bought by hyperlocal delivery start-up Grofers (Locodel Solutions Pvt. Ltd) in October last year, another start-up, Dazo, shut shop the same month. Eatlo Tech Solutions Pvt. Ltd closed down in December.
Bigger businesses such as Zomato and TinyOwl have pruned their workforce. While Zomato laid off about 300 employees in October last year, TinyOwl let go off more than 200 employees between September and November last year.