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Craft beer brand Bira 91 gets new venture capital investor
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B9 Beverages Pvt. Ltd, which makes craft beer under the brand Bira 91, has raised a bridge round of funding from a new institutional investor, a person privy to the development told VCCircle.

The company has secured Rs 30 crore ($4.2 million) in funding from consumer-focussed venture capital firm Sixth Sense Ventures, the person said, asking not to be named.

The investment in Bira 91 was first flagged by data research firm Paper.vc, citing regulatory filings.

The transaction valued the company at $246 million (Rs 1,718 crore), according to Paper.vc. The company’s valuation was $210 million (around Rs 1,400 crore) when it raised its last institutional round of funding—from Belgium-based investment firm Sofina—a year ago, according to VCCEdge, the data research arm of Mosaic Digital.

For Sixth Sense, this transaction marks its debut deal in the alcoholic-beverage category.

Email queries to B9 Beverages and Sixth Sense didn’t elicit any response till the time of publishing this report.

Bira 91

Launched in February 2015, Bira 91 has a presence in Delhi, Mumbai, Goa, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Pune and Chandigarh. The company has also forayed into the US and Asia-Pacific, starting with New York and Singapore. It has nearly 350 employees and runs two breweries. It also has a tie-up with a contract manufacturer in Belgium.

Bira 91 had raised Series A funding from Sequoia Capital in 2016. The multi-stage investor later invested more money in the Indian company.

Last year, Bira 91 secured 335 crore (around $50 million) in a round of funding led by Sofina.

The company’s consolidated net sales jumped almost five times during 2017-18, to Rs 158 crore from Rs 30.9 crore the year before. Its consolidated net loss widened to Rs 101.8 crore from Rs 55 crore, according to VCCEdge.

Sixth Sense Ventures

The VC firm was founded in 2014 by Nikhil Vora, the former managing director and co-head of research at IDFC Securities. It runs two funds—it raised Rs 125 crore for the first fund and had a target corpus of Rs 350 crore for the second fund. The company claimed to have marked the first close of the second fund in March 2018.

In its debut deal, it had invested in luxury watch retailer Ethos.

From the first fund, it invested in 10 companies such as Cross Roads India Assistance Pvt. Ltd, a roadside assistance provider for cars and two-wheelers; media group NDTV's e-commerce venture Gadgets360; Grab, a Mumbai-based hyperlocal logistics service provider; and gaming arcade operator Smaaash Entertainment Pvt. Ltd.

It exited three investments from its first fund, recording an internal rate of return of 40%.

From the second fund, it has invested in seven companies and exited none so far. These include Rakesh Jhunjhunwala-backed Fullife Healthcare Pvt. Ltd, which sells sports nutrition supplements under the brand Fast & Up; and Eupheus Learning, which develops textbooks and their digitised versions to integrate class and home learning. Earlier this month, it struck its first deal in the fitness segment.

Deals in the alco-beverage segment

The segment has recorded several deals over the past few months.

Earlier this month, British Brewing Company received an initial commitment of Rs 100 crore from investors including NeoMile Capital in its first external equity fundraise.

In January, United Spirits Ltd sold its Bengaluru-based wine subsidiary Four Seasons Wines Ltd for Rs 31.86 crore to Grover Zampa Vineyards Ltd and its investor Quintela Assets Ltd.

In September 2018, mead maker Moonshine Meadery secured seed capital from a bunch of wealthy individuals.

In July 2018, VCCircle reported that IIFL Asset Management Ltd invested in a craft-beer maker, marking its debut deal in the alcoholic-beverage segment. The previous month, VC firm Saama Capital and early-stage investor DSG Consumer Partners invested in an alcoholic-beverage company.

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