Covid-19 impact: Wipro Consumer Care Ventures revisits investment strategy

WCCL has also fast-tracked the launch of several health-related products such as hand sanitisers, anti-germ men’s soaps and deo sprays.
With Covid-19 boosting the demand for health and hygiene products, Wipro Consumer Care Ltd.’s (WCCL) VC fund is looking at expanding its scope of investment by focusing on segments like hygiene, health supplements and immunity, in addition to new-age consumer tech and grooming firms.

The venture capital arm of the Azim Premji-backed FMCG company is in talks with over a dozen startups in these areas to invest into them, Sumit Keshan, Managing Partner, Wipro Consumer Care - Ventures told Business Standard.

“In addition to the categories that we were looking at within the consumer sector, we are actively focussing on categories like hygiene, immunity building and DIY kind of products. We are expanding our focus areas with this,” said Keshan.

According to reports, the personal hygiene market in India is expected to reach $15 billion by 2023.

WCCL VC fund will be investing in up to 6 companies in the next 12 months with individual ticket size between $2 million and $6 million, including follow-up rounds. It is looking at investing in companies that are smaller in size, with an annual sales of around Rs 12 crore. The idea is not just to stay as a financial investor, but bring more value to them by helping the start-ups with R&D, product bouquets, distribution, sourcing and manufacturing.

“Our focus is to take a minority stake in the company and let the company run on its own,” said Keshan.

Even though the pace of VC investment is expected to slow down during these uncertain times, Keshan said that the deal flow had been high for the fund with over 15 start-ups are already in discussions for investments.

The venture capital fund has a corpus of Rs 200 crore, which it intends to deploy over the next three years. The fund has so far backed two startups, namely Happily Unmarried and LetsShave. Keshan said while LetsShave product sales were hurt due to the nationwide lockdown, the demand level had suddenly picked up this month and the company would would go back to pre-Covid-19 demand by the next month.

WCCL has also fast-tracked the launch of several health-related products such as hand sanitisers, anti-germ men’s soaps and deo sprays.



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