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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Dhoni picks up equity in Shaka Harry


Indian cricketer MS Dhoni has joined global investors in backing India’s fastest growing plant protein startup Shaka Harry and picked up equity in the company.

This is a huge development on the backdrop of the company having recently received USD 2M in a seed funding round led by Better Bite Ventures, Blue Horizon and Panthera Peak Ventures.

Other investors include Dexler Holdings, celebrity Chef Manu Chandra and a group of domestic family offices and angel investors.

Dhoni, India’s most loved cricketer, is known to back sector-leading startups across the consumer segment.

The plant protein segment has seen a lot of celebrity backing globally. Plant protein diets are inherently more sustainable and it’s health benefits are driving more customer adoption.

Speaking about the partnership, Dhoni said, “I love everything chicken, but increasingly, I am looking at a more balanced diet. It is much easier with products from Shaka Harry, which has a wide range that delivers a healthier experience to that of traditional meat dishes. For a growing population, current protein sources aren’t sustainably as scalable. We now have a choice to shift to smarter protein alternatives without compromising on taste and texture. The plant protein segment is an exciting consumer space. The team at Shaka Harry has all the ingredients to build a great company.”

Anand Nagarajan, co-founder and CEO of Liberate Foods said, “We are very excited to have Dhoni partner with us in growing Shaka Harry. This is a validation of what we are building. Shaka Harry has the unique combination of the worlds best players.”

On customer traction and plans going ahead, Anand added, “We are serving over 30,000 customers across 10 cities monthly, and expect to triple this number in the next few months. Shaka Harry will also be available on global shelves by the end of this year.”

Varun Deshpande, Managing Director, at expert alternative protein nonprofit Good Food Institute India, said “Remaking our protein supply is our best bet at building sustainable economic prosperity for the 21st century – we’re still in the very early stages of the global smart protein transformation. Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s partnership with Shaka Harry is exactly the kind of leadership we need, bringing plant-based meats to his legions of adoring fans, breaking into the true multi-billion dollar mass market. We’re delighted that Mahi and Shaka Harry are forming this dream duo!”

GFI research with Deloitte indicates that the right investments in talent, R&D, manufacturing, and distribution could drive the Indian smart protein sector to a market size of nearly INR 19,000 Cr by 2030, including a sizeable export market.

Shaka Harry, India’s fastest growing plant based company, has strong food technology bearings that provide an advantage in terms of superior product development capabilities.

“Shaka Harry is at the cutting edge of innovation. Our R&D team is constantly adding new products to our everyday essentials, celebrations, grab & go and world-cuisine ranges. We currently have an on-going consumer trial of our plant based diary line. With this investment, and our partnership with Dhoni, our customer reach and new product launches will increase multifold” added Sandeep Devgan, co-founder of Shaka Harry.

Shaka Harry has been on the shelves for less than a year and already are category leaders in this fast growing sector. Celebrity investors, like MS Dhoni, only further validate both consumer and investor sentiments in a plant first future.

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