Cricketer MS Dhoni has joined global investors in backing plant protein start-up Shaka Harry and has picked up an undisclosed equity stake in the Bengaluru-based firm. The company had recently raised $2 million in seed funding from investors led by Better Bite Ventures, Blue Horizon and Panthera Peak Ventures. Other investors in the company include Dexler Holdings, Chef Manu Chandra and a group of domestic family offices and angel investors.
MS Dhoni is known to back sector-leading start-ups across the consumer segment. The plant protein segment has seen a lot of celebrity backing globally. Plant protein diets are inherently more sustainable and it’s health benefits are driving more customer adoption.
Speaking about the partnership, Dhoni said, “I love everything chicken, but increasingly, I am looking at a more balanced diet. It is much easier with products from Shaka Harry, which has a wide range that delivers a healthier experience when compared with traditional meat dishes. For a growing population, current protein sources aren’t sustainably as scalable. We now have a choice to shift to smarter protein alternatives without compromising on taste and texture. The plant protein segment is an exciting consumer space. The team at Shaka Harry has all the ingredients to build a great company.”
Anand Nagarajan, co-founder and CEO of Liberate Foods said, “We are very excited to have Dhoni partner with us in growing Shaka Harry. This is a validation of what we are building. Shaka Harry has the unique combination of the world’s best players.”
Shaka Harry currently serves over 30,000 customers across 10 cities on a monthly basis and expects to triple this number in the next few months. “Shaka Harry will also be available on global shelves by the end of this year,” Nagarajan said.
Varun Deshpande, Managing Director, Good Food Institute (GFI) India, said “Remaking our protein supply is our best bet at building sustainable economic prosperity for the 21st century. We’re still in the very early stages of the global smart protein transformation. MS Dhoni’s partnership with Shaka Harry is exactly the kind of leadership we need, bringing plant-based meats to his legions of adoring fans, breaking into the true multi-billion dollar mass market. We’re delighted that Mahi and Shaka Harry are forming this dream duo!”
GFI research with Deloitte indicates that the right investments in talent, R&D, manufacturing, and distribution could drive the Indian smart protein sector to a market size of nearly ₹19,000 crore by 2030, including a sizeable export market.
“Shaka Harry is adding new products to our everyday essentials, celebrations, grab and go, and world-cuisine ranges. We currently have an on-going consumer trial of our plant-based diary line. With this investment and our partnership with Dhoni, our customer reach and new product launches will increase multifold” added Sandeep Devgan, co-founder of Shaka Harry.