Consumer Houseware startup Basil raises INR 3.6 crore seed funding from IIMA Ventures and Appreciate Capital

• Basil aims to reimagine homeware & kitchenware for Millennials and Gen Alpha

• Launches food storage and hydration categories with its range of Bento Boxes and Bottles targeting urban parents.

• To utilize the funds to bolster its direct-to-consumer (D2C) play, expand reach via e-commerce channels and expand product portfolio.

BANGALORE, India, Feb. 19, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- Bangalore-based, Consumer Houseware startup, Basil today announced that it has raised INR 3.6 crore seed funding co-led by IIMA Ventures (formerly IIMA-CIIE) and Appreciate Capital. The round also saw participation from prominent angel investors such as Mohit Sadaani (Co-Founder, The Moms Co.), Aprameya Radhakrishna (Co-Founder, Koo), Abhishek Goyal (Co-Founder, Tracxn), Malini Adapureddy (Founder, Deconstruct) and Brij Bhushan (Co-Founder, Magicpin). In its first phase of scale, Basil has launched stainless steel bento boxes and bottles catering to the sensibilities of millennial parents and Gen Alpha. The funds raised will be used to bolster its D2C play, expand reach via e-commerce channels and expand product portfolio.

According to Datum Intelligence, the Indian Consumer Houseware Market is set to cross ₹507 Billion by 2027. Within the Houseware market, categories such as lunchboxes, drinkware, storage containers and insulated products, contribute to 22% of the overall market share. With the evolving lifestyle of Indians, high degree of urbanization, proliferation of nuclear families and technological advancement, India is witnessing a major shift in the houseware industry. This is especially evident for young working couples and parents in the urban setting. This lifestyle evolution offers a massive white space for Basil to bring product differentiation and tap into the changing needs of its target consumers.

Founded by Harini Rajagopalan (Ex Amazon, Flipkart group) and Mahesh Muraleedharan (launched Uber in India as their first employee) in 2023, Basil is a first-of-its kind D2C startup aiming to reimagine the consumer houseware market in India that is typically dominated by a handful of traditional players. The firm's range of products aims to cut away from the product designs that currently exist in the market. It offers consumers distinct, high-quality, visually appealing, and tailored products that are particularly appealing to Gen Alpha and their millennial parents. Basil's water bottles and Bento boxes represent a strategic response to a significant market gap that exists in the industry.

Announcing the fund raise, Harini Rajagopalan, Co-founder of Basil said "In an era dominated by contemporary brands, the home and kitchen sector remains surprisingly resistant to innovation, still dominated by entrenched incumbents. As parents ourselves, we realised there is a definite need for innovation and design in this category, validated by our on ground research of talking to over 900 parents. Products that are currently in the market are a sea of sameness, with minimal overlap across functional design, aesthetics as well as safety. Our mission is to disrupt this overlooked space, infusing it with breakthrough designs based on market needs, premium materials, functional designs and aesthetic appeal. With our launch product range of stainless steel leak proof bentos and water bottles, we aim to emerge as the preferred choice for Indian parents seeking the best for their children and at the same time, be seen as a fun, cool, engaging & aspirational brand for kids."

With this round of funding, Basil will deploy 30% of the capital into R&D to develop a nuanced view of market requirements, product design iterations so that they can clear the clutter to launch sought-after products. Basil's products are currently available pan-India on their D2C platform - as well as on marketplaces such as Amazon. In the next 12 months, it will expand its product categories launching lunch bags for kids and a newer range of bento boxes customized for working professionals.

"Driven by urbanization and premiumization, the Indian home and kitchen market is witnessing a surge in online demand for branded products. As kitchens become central features of homes, Basil, led by Harini and Mahesh, is strategically positioned to innovate and tap into this trend. We are thrilled to co-lead Basil's seed round, confident their modern approach will resonate with the preferences of the Indian audience." - Vipul Patel (Partner, Seed Investing at IIMA Ventures).

"The kitchen and home sector has seen minimal innovation for over a decade. The Indian consumer, actively seeking both functionality and aesthetics, is no longer served by incumbent and traditional brands. This is the massive opportunity we believe Harini and Mahesh are a great team to build for. We are delighted to partner with them and co-lead the round from Appreciate Capital." – Sairee Chahal & Abhishek Agarwal (Partners, Appreciate Capital).

About Harini Rajagopalan – Cofounder, Basil

Harini has over a decade of experience in the consumer internet space with stints at eCommerce giants such as Amazon and Flipkart. At Amazon, Harini led the product and marketing efforts for Amazon Deals, focusing on personalization and orchestrating large-scale events like the Great Indian Festival. While at Flipkart, she spearheaded the launch of multiple categories, from ebooks to large appliances, showcasing her expertise in product management, brand management, and business leadership. Harini began her career at Johnson and Johnson, where she pioneered initiatives like the Clean & Clear Times Fresh Face and contributed to launching the Clean & Clear fairness portfolio in India. Harini is an alumna of INSEAD.

About Mahesh Muraleedharan – Cofounder, Basil

With over a decade of experience, Mahesh Muraleedharan, comes with a diverse background encompassing experiences in Indian e-commerce, ridesharing, VC investing, and management consulting, He has been instrumental in launching and scaling early-stage operations for high-growth startups, including three unicorns—Uber, Rapyd, and OYO. Mahesh was the first hire for Uber in India, where he played a pivotal role in overseeing the company's launch and exponential growth to one million trips per day. His leadership extends to navigating complex legal, regulatory, and technological landscapes, demonstrated by his contributions to setting up multiple core businesses from scratch. Mahesh is an alumnus of IIM Ahmedabad.

About IIMA Ventures

IIMA Ventures spearheads entrepreneurship-led activities at and beyond IIM Ahmedabad. It studies, educates, incubates, accelerates and invests in early-stage technology startups. Over its history, IIMA Ventures has mentored over 5000 entrepreneurs, accelerated over 2000 startups and invested in 350+ companies at seed stage and 40+ companies at early growth stage, securing more than 40 profitable exits. IIMA Ventures' consumer investments include Jollee (children's wear), Heelium (activewear), Bombay Hemp Company (wellness), Qlan, Mech Mocha, Rolocule and Hashcube (gaming).

About Appreciate Capital

Appreciate Capital is a gender smart, world positive companies focussed pre-seed / seed fund founded by Abhishek Agarwal and Sairee Chahal. Investor in companies like Basil, Aulerth, Teleport, Samosa Party - among others, Appreciate brings to its portfolio founders - deep building/ operating experience to the table along with its extensive network in India and globally. Over fifty percent of Appreciate cheques go to women founders / women markets.

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