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PVR-Backed 4700BC Seeks To Diversify Beyond Popcorn

PVR Ltd.-backed 4700BC is in talks to raise as much as $10 million (about Rs 79 crore) in Series B funding as it looks to diversify beyond gourmet popcorn to propel growth.

“It’s [discussion] still early days to disclose the investors but we are looking to raise fund this year to accelerate the growth of business after two years of Covid-led disruptions,” 4700BC co-founder Chirag Gupta told BQ Prime.

In 2015, PVR—the country’s largest multiplex chain operator—acquired a 70% stake in Zea Maize Pvt., which runs the Delhi-based popcorn chain, for Rs 5 crore.

4700BC started its journey in 2012 from kiosks in malls and multiplexes and then expanded into institutional and retail. The onset of the pandemic in 2020 blocked two of the major sales channels for popcorn—cinemas and institutions such as airlines and coffee chains. Soon after, while prices of everything from fuel to food surged, the company doubled its sales to Rs 33.6 crore in FY22 as demand for its premium popcorn remained unaffected.

“Ours is an up-market product with target audience being those who can afford Rs 80 for a pack of popcorn,” Gupta said. “The consumption behaviour remained intact so far.” Instead, he said, the consumers are willing to experiment new brands and spend money on impulse purchases.

That prompted 4700BC to reposition itself as a premium snacking brand and not just depend on the humble popcorn for revenue. In a bid to grab a larger piece of the organised snacks market dominated by Haldiram and PepsiCo, the company diversified into ready-to-eat sweet corn and protein pops (makhana).

Plans are afoot to launch chips, which Gupta said would be “something different from the regular ones like Lay’s”.

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