TenderCuts Raises $15 Mn Led by Paragon Partners and NABVENTURES

TenderCuts, the omnichannel meat & seafood brand today announced that they have raised INR 110 crore (USD 15 million) in a round led by Paragon Partners, a mid-market PE fund founded by Siddharth Parekh and Sumeet Nindrajog with participation from NABVENTURES, a leading agri-food tech VC fund backed by NABARD.

The funding will allow TenderCuts to expand its current operations and pursue organic and inorganic growth opportunities. The funds will also allow the company to invest in scaling up its supply chain and technology infrastructure to support innovation and accessibility of its products and services.

Founded in 2016 by Nishanth Chandran, TenderCuts is revolutionizing the way meat and seafood is sold in India. Indian consumers, unlike their western counterparts, prefer fresh (never frozen) meat and seafood. Also, many consumers have specific preferences in terms of the cuts of their meat and fish. TenderCuts provides freshly cut meat and seafood to customers through their unique neighborhood stores which cater not only to walk-in customers, but also online shoppers. All of which is driven by a fully integrated supply chain fuelled by proprietary technology.

Stringent focus on quality ensures that customers get the most hygienic and tastiest meat. Besides, TenderCuts is the only branded meat company offering the freshest meat to consumers – either in stores or delivered to their doorstep within 2 hours of it first being cut.

India’s meat and seafood market is worth $100 billion in size, however, over 95% of the market is unorganised. The organized meat segment has seen a rapid acceleration of business during the pandemic driven by an increasing number of people focussing on quality, health, hygiene, and convenience.

Today, TenderCuts has 25 stores across Chennai and Hyderabad which cater to walk-in and online customers. The company’s core product portfolio includes fresh chicken, mutton, seafood, marinades, pickles, and eggs. Besides, the company also has an expansive ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook product range comprising cold cuts, sausages, kebabs, shawarmas, etc.

Nishanth Chandran, Founder, and CEO, TenderCuts, commented, “It is heartening to see TenderCuts become a market leader in the cities it operates in after it has managed to transform the way fresh meat and seafood is sold in these markets. It is an affirmation of the unique omnichannel and seamless supply chain model in the sector. This investment will pave the way for us to enter new markets and further establish our omnichannel network. We are delighted to partner with Paragon Partners and NABVENTURES and look forward to tapping into their significant experience in growing consumer businesses in the retail, agri, food & beverage, and e-commerce sectors. 

Siddharth Parekh, Co-Founder, and Senior Partner, Paragon Partners said, “We are excited to partner with Nishanth to realise his vision of revolutionizing the way meat and seafood is sold in India. We believe that TenderCuts has an opportunity to leverage its robust supply chain of farmers and fishermen and its omnichannel strategy to efficiently cater to the mass market.  Given our team’s deep experience in retail and e-commerce, we are confident that we can help TenderCuts achieve significant scale and accelerate the shift to the organized segment. We are also excited to announce that this will be the first investment from our second fund”.

According to Dr. G R Chintala, Chairman, NABARD, and NABVENTURES, “Our investment in TenderCuts is a testament to NABVENTURES’ commitment to give a big push to startups operating in the agri and allied space in India.  We believe that TenderCuts’ omnichannel strategy gives it a clear edge over online-only/store-backed retail players”.

Rajesh Ranjan, Chief Executive Officer, NABVENTURES said, “The direct-to-consumer meat market is at a nascent stage in India with less than 1% penetration. TenderCuts has been able to build a differentiated business model with omnichannel capability enabling TenderCuts to offer quality meat and seafood to the offline segment as well which is around 96% of the market.  NABVENTURES would leverage its network of FPOs and farmers to optimize the TenderCuts supply chain by sourcing of farm-fresh meat, provide additional income-earning opportunities for our farmers and build India’s largest meat brand over the next 5 years.” 

Alvarez & Marsal and Klaw were the commercial and financial diligence and legal advisors respectively to Paragon Partners, Acuity Law advised NABVENTURES while investment banker IndigoEdge facilitated the transaction.

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