Not many of times you’ll see a prince of princess investing in a startup however an Indian startup has just caught the eye and treasures of UAE Princess Sheikha Arwa Al Qassimi.
A member of the royal family of Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah, Al Qassimi has invested an undisclosed sum in Mumbai-based food startup Wegan Foods. Even though, the princess has been involved in several charitable projects including in India, this is her first investment in an Indian company.
The funding decision because of the very fact that founder of the startup is a woman and the startup runs on good intentions of hiring women from financially-weak backgrounds.
Wegan foods is founded by Kinjal Darukhanawala (in pic above), 33, who is also CEO of the startup.
“Of our total workforce, we plan to hire about 90 per cent women, that too from organisations that groom and empower women from disadvantaged backgrounds. This was the biggest motivation for Sheikha Arwa Al Qassimi to invest in our company”, said Kinjal Darukhanawala.
An advocate of women’s rights, Sheikha Arwa Al Qassimi is known for sponsoring humanitarian and charitable initiatives and has also worked with ‘Food for Change’, a fund-raising effort for worthy causes.
She is also on the board of Sightsavers, a development agency working in more than 30 countries to combat blindness and restore sight.
The booming Indian start-up space has seen investors and celebrities rushing and investing in these companies. Earlier, iconic global fund manager Mark Mobius had invested and profitably exited ‘Express Bike Works’, while Indian business tycoons such as Ratan Tata had also invested in many start-ups. For Wegan Foods, which was boot-strapped by Darukhanawala in November 2016, this is its first fund raising.
“We don’t sell any animal products, not even honey or cheese. Our products will address a growing market of vegans and people would like to choose a healthier dietary lifestyle,” Darukhanawala added.
The startup will use the funding for setting up its kitchen, inventory and brand building.
To begin with, the startup is in the process of setting kitchen in Mahim, Mumbai, and following its success will venture into other cities, starting with the four metros.
In addition, the startup also aims to sign agreements with restaurants, hotels, catering companies, coffee shop chains and airlines. The company is gearing up to launch a range of dairy-free, pantry staples for the vegan community in India.
The company will launch its first product — dairy-free cheese — in October, which is also soy and gluten-free.
Top Image – Kinjal Darukhanawala, Founder & CEO of Wegan Foods
Like this content? Sign up for our daily newsletter to get latest updates.