Big Fish Ventures, a Delhi-based startup that runs premium dining lounges such as Vault Cafe and Public Connection, is in talks with private equity firms to raise about $25 million.
“Our investment bankers are in talks, and we should be closing that round by March,” said Nishant Singhal, co-founder of cricketer Yuvraj Singh’s startup venture YouWeCan, in a chat with DEALSTREETASIA. Singhal has invested in his personal capacity in Big Fish, and has been designated as chief mentor.
Singhal said that they are discussing the fundraise with private equity firms that have previously invested in quick service restaurants such as Beer Cafe. Singhal declined to name the private equity firms Big Fish is talking with, or the amount he has invested in the venture. Beer Cafe’s investors include Mayfield Fund and Granite Hill Capital.
“What works in this venture’s favour is that we build large spaces of between 5,000-8,000 square feet, which brings allows for more events, more people, and makes operations more economical. Such outlets become cash positive in 4-6 months. This at a time when 70 per cent of QSR chains are not cash positive,” Singhal said.
The company has launched an app, available on the App Store and on Android, which enables customers to accumulate and redeem points in restaurants owned by Big Fish. “We want to keep our customers with our brands,” said Singhal.
Big Fish was founded by hospitality sector veteran Umang Tewari in 2015. The company has launched casual diners, cafes and lounges, under brands like Public Connection, Junkyard and 3 Pegs Down. “Instead of creating single brands with standardized formats, that we’ve seen in the recent past, we are building different brands across genres, and all of them are large spaces,” Tewari said.
Such restaurants typically cost between Rs 6 crore and Rs 8 crore to build. The company has eight such outlets currently, and will build another four in the next couple of months. The pace of building new outlets will accelerate after the funds are raised.
Recent private equity deals in the restaurant industry include Everstone Capital’s 50 per cent stake in Massive Restaurants, owned by restaurateur Zorawar Kalra, India Value Fund Advisors partner Haresh Chawla’s Rs 190 crore controlling stake in chef Rahul Akerkar’s deGustibus Hospitality, and Goldman Sachs’ Rs 64 crore investment in pan-Asian chain Mamagoto.