With the Covid-19 pandemic putting the spotlight on consumers’ increased attention on health and wellness, Wipro Consumer Care Ventures has broadened its investment focus. The venture fund, set up by Wipro Consumer Care & Lighting, is eyeing investment opportunities in four-six start-ups in sectors such as nutraceuticals, wellness and clean beauty in 2021.
Sumit Keshan, Managing Partner for Wipro Consumer Care Ventures, said that segments such as health, hygiene and wellness have emerged as extremely critical categories, and consumer spends on these categories have gone up dramatically in the past seven-eight months due to the pandemic.
“In the past, we had been scouting for investment opportunities more in the personal care and home care segment. The pandemic has helped us broaden our investment focus. We are now also strategically looking to invest in start-ups in the nutraceuticals, food and wellness, clean beauty and feminine hygiene segments,” he added.
Wipro Consumer Care Ventures was set up in September 2019 with a corpus of ₹200 crore to invest in start-ups in the consumer brands space. So far, it has invested in two start-ups in the grooming space — LetsShave and Ustraa.
“We are aiming to do anything between four-six deals in 2021. The venture fund has been set up to invest in start-ups in the consumer brands space in India and South-East Asia,” Keshan said.
The venture fund is looking at opportunities to pick up minority stakes in its prospective investments. “We are looking at deals with an average ticket size of $2-$6 million per investment in start-ups that are generating revenues to a certain extent. We pick up minority stakes of 20 per cent or less as we want to nurture and support them to scale up swiftly,” he added.
With the acceleration in adoption of digital platforms for purchases and payments, the venture fund is also looking at start-ups that are digitally-led.
Health and personal care
Talking about the nutraceutials and health supplements segment, Keshan said that this sector is now at an inflection point. “While nutraceutials, health supplements and superfood-led propositions have had a presence in India for some time, It was not as mainstream or top-of-the-mind for consumers. But in the past seven-eight months, consumers are increasingly seeking solutions in the immunity-boosting and preventive wellness space. We believe this will not be for the short-term and these segments have a huge growth potential,” he added.
While segments such as beauty and personal care witnessed challenging times during the pandemic, Keshan pointed out that these segments are witnessing signs of recovery in the past two-three months.
“In the past five-six years there has been lot of action in terms of emergence of new-age companies led by great entrepreneurs that are offering quality products in the consumer brands space. It is quite impressive how some of these start-ups have navigated the pandemic challenges. So we believe there are significant investment opportunities for us,” Keshan added.