With an aim to disrupt the culinary industry in India, Bengaluru-based hospitality chain VRO Hospitality has successfully raised an amount of $3 million (Rs 22.5 crore) in a mix of equity and debt funding in Series A funding led by CreedCap Asia Advisors along with other undisclosed angel investors.
Started by Dawn Thomas, Safdar Adhoor, and Sharath Rice almost a decade back, VRO Hospitality owns and operates F&B brands such as Mirage, Hangover, Badmaash, Nevermind, and Tycoons among many others in Bengaluru. VRO also acquired Covid-hit F&B brands like Fava, Café Noir, Plan B, Caperberry, and One Night in Bangkok during the last 12 months amidst the pandemic and has also ventured into cloud kitchen brands with Burgers and Beyond, Holy Dah Pizzas and Smashed to adjust to the new world of dining.
The fresh funding will help VRO to expand its horizon to Mumbai, Goa, and Chennai. About 80 percent of the fresh capital will go into new projects, 10 per cent on technology and team building, and 10 per cent on cloud kitchen brands.
“We are extremely delighted to share that our investors have shown immense faith in us. Our funding comes at a time when the hospitality industry across the globe is struggling due to the impact of the Covid. The confidence of our investors on us is a testament to our growth potential that we have delivered so far. We are focussed on our growth mode and this fresh round of funding will help us to stay on the trajectory for success,” said 29-year-old co-founder Dawn Thomas.
VRO Hospitality prides itself in its repertoire of multi-format restaurants, cafes, and lounges across 18 outlets in Bengaluru. The founders' previous venture, an event curator platform SteppinOut, was acquired by Dineout, the restaurant services and reservation platform owned by Times Internet.
Commenting on the funding, Vishal Pereira, Managing Director at CreedCap Asia, said: "This decade, F&B brands will be hybrid in nature of operations and own the online/offline experience for customers. The founders at VRO sold their last business to Dineout and we believe they are the right team to back for this hybrid model.”
At a time when profit is an alien word in the hospitality industry, VRO is running at a 20% operating profit and its revenues have increased by 4.1X since October 2020. VRO employs more than 600 people and plans to build a unique food and beverage platform with offline and online experiences.
“We are looking towards an exciting future. We are planning to add 16 new projects across five cities including Bengaluru, Goa, Mumbai, Kochi, and Chennai. By the end of the financial year, we also plan to take some of our brands pan-India and also to Singapore and Dubai,” said Dawn.