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Indian cloud kitchen trailblazer Rebel Foods raises $50m from Coatue

April 10, 2020

India’s Rebel Foods has netted $50 million funding from New York-based hedge fund Coatue Management as part of an ongoing Series E round, according to regulatory filings with the country’s Registrar of Companies.

Coatue had earlier invested in the Mumbai-based startup’s $125 million Series D round last year, which also saw participation from Goldman Sachs, Sistema Asia Capital, and GoVentures – the VC arm of Indonesian ride-hailing and food-delivery unicorn Gojek.

Rebel Foods’ other investors include Sequoia Capital and City Storage Systems, a company owned by Uber co-founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick (who now runs US cloud kitchen startup CloudKitchens).

Launched in 2011 as quick service restaurant chain Faasos, it later morphed into one of the first on-demand meal delivery services to adopt a ‘cloud kitchen’ model.

In contrast to online restaurant marketplaces – which allow users to order directly from third-party merchants, and then handle delivery – it operates its own network of food preparation hubs.

Meals prepared in-house at Rebel Foods’ cloud kitchens are sold under a variety of brands according to cuisine. They are delivered direct to customers, who place their orders via the company’s app or website.

The model has caught on elsewhere in Asia, too.

Malaysia’s Dahmakan raised $18 million Series B funding in February from investors including Rakuten, Woowa Brothers, and White Star Capital.

Singapore-based ride-hailing giant Grab has put a different spin on the setup by establishing cloud kitchens for the use of its third-party merchants, enabling them to increase kitchen space, deliver to new areas, and cut down on costs by renting shared facilities. It opened its first GrabKitchen in the city-state – including tables for dine-in customers – in January, and already operates hubs in several of its other Southeast Asian markets.

Grab’s archrival Gojek has similarly launched a number of cloud kitchens for its meal delivery service GoFood, and has plans to open about 100 more across Southeast Asia – in partnership with investee Rebel Foods.

The Indian startup is also expanding to the UAE. It operates 325 cloud kitchens in India and was estimated to be valued at $525 million after its Series D round.

For its recently released Agri-FoodTech Funding Report 2019, AgFunder added a new category to reflect the growth in intermediary services for the meal delivery industry, including cloud kitchens.

This new category – Cloud Retail Infrastructure – attracted 16% of global investment into agrifood tech startups last year. This made it the second most popular destination for funding dollars after eGrocery, and ahead of Restaurant Marketplaces with 12%.

Kalanick’s CloudKitchens was among the highest-funded startups in the category, raising $400 million in November from Saudi Arabian sovereign fund PIF.

AFN has contacted Rebel Foods for comment and will update this story as necessary.

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