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MS Dhoni picks up stake in plant protein startup|

MS Dhoni picks up stake in plant protein startup|

Liberate Foods ehf. Ltd, which runs plant-based protein startup Shaka Harry, on Tuesday announced that former Indian cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni has invested in the company.

The investment comes on the back of Shaka Harry, in July, raising $2 million in its seed funding round led by Better Bite Ventures, Blue Horizon and Panthera Peak Ventures. Dexler Holdings, celebrity chef Manu Chandra and a group of domestic family offices and angel investors also participated in the round.

Founded by Anand Nagarajan, Sandeep Devgan, Hemalatha Srinivasan, Ruth Renita and Anoop Haridasan, Shaka Harry is a plant-based meat brand that sells a range of meal and snack products. The startup says its products are crafted around Indian cuisine and palate.

“We are serving over 30,000 customers across 10 cities monthly and expect to triple this number in the coming months. Shaka Harry will also be available on global shelves by the end of this year,” said Anand Nagarajan, co-founder and managing director of Liberate Foods.

Shaka Harry sells its products online through Swiggy Instamart, BigBasket, SPAR and Zepto. The startup has also partnered with supermarkets like Metro and Godrej’s Nature’s Basket to sell products offline. The products are available in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune, Ahmedabad and Gurgaon.

“For a growing population, current protein sources are not as scalable. We now have the choice to switch to better protein options without compromising taste and texture. The plant protein segment is an exciting consumer space,” said Dhoni.

The right investments in talent, R&D, manufacturing and distribution could propel the Indian smart protein sector to near-market size 19,000 crore by 2030, including a significant export market, according to GFI research by Deloitte, cited in the release.

Recently, the plant-based protein component has received a lot of support globally, claiming that such a diet is more sustainable. In January, Enzu.Life Pvt Ltd, which operates lifestyle nutrition brand PlantVita, raised an undisclosed amount in a seed funding round led by JITO Angel Network.

Also in September 2021, Proeon from Pune raised 17.5 crore in its seed funding round led by entrepreneur Shaival Desai while GoodDot, one of the first startups in the category, raised an undisclosed amount from Sixth Sense Ventures.

The increased adoption of plant-based foods is also seeing meat delivery companies make their foray into the category. On Monday, homegrown meat brand Licious launched a direct-to-consumer plant-based meat brand, UnCrave.

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