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Danone's venture arm bets on Epigamia yogurt maker in debut Asia deal

Drums Food International Pvt. Ltd said on Wednesday it has raised Rs 182 crore ($25.6 million) in a Series C round led by Belgium's Verlinvest and the venture investment arm of French food giant Danone.

Apart from Danone Manifesto Ventures, another new investor that took part in this round is Samina Vaziralli, executive vice chairperson at drugmaker Cipla Ltd, Drums Food said in a statement.

Existing investor DSG Consumer Partners also put in some equity capital while InnoVen Capital provided venture debt, the statement said.

Drums Food, which sells yogurt under the brand Epigamia, will use the latest capital infusion to expand its distribution network across 25 cities in India. It will also expand its range of high-protein, lactose-free and probiotics food products.

"Danone is the global leader in our space and with the support from their venture arm, we expect to execute an ambitious business plan," said Rohan Mirchandani, CEO at Drums Food.

The company was founded in 2015 by Mirchandani, Ganesh Krishnamurthy and Uday Thakkar.

"This investment, our first with Danone Manifesto Ventures in Asia, is a perfect fit, as Epigamia places taste, quality and health at the centre of its model," said Laurent Marcel, managing director at Danone Manifesto Ventures.

Epigamia is available in 21 stock-keeping units under greek yogurt, artisanal curd, snack pack, mishti doi and smoothies. The brand retails across about 10,000 touch points including modern trade chains such as Reliance Fresh, Godrej Nature’s Basket, Future Group Foodhall, Big Bazaar and Hypercity.

It is also available on e-commerce platforms including BigBasket and Amazon; and numerous general trade retailers spread across the national capital region, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune, Ahmedabad and Kolkata.

The company had raised its Series B round of funding in 2017 led by Verlinvest and DSG Consumer and Series A funding the year before.

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