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India Quotient, IAN Fund back non-alcoholic beer maker Coolberg

Non-alcoholic beer maker Coolberg Beverages Pvt. Ltd said in a statement on Wednesday it has raised an undisclosed seed amount from venture capital firm India Quotient and Indian Angel Network’s (IAN’s) maiden fund.

The funds will be used for expansion, the statement added.

Mumbai-based Coolberg seeks to tap into the “sizeable” portion of the Indian population that does not consume alcohol, the statement said.

The company has a presence in more than 75 cities across 18 states. Its beer products come in flavours such as mint, strawberry, cranberry and peach, according to its website.

The startup was founded by Pankaj Aswani and Yashika Keswani in 2016. Aswani worked with private sector lender Citibank and Keswani was a communications expert at advertising agency MTLB, according to their LinkedIn profiles.

“Non-alcoholic beer is relatively a white space in the beverage segment in India,” said Madhukar Sinha, founding partner at India Quotient.

“While going to pubs and cafes for drinks is a fast-catching trend for Indian millennials, the choice of beverage, especially for people who do not want alcohol, is very limited,” added Sinha. “Coolberg has an opportunity to establish itself as the first-choice beverage for all such non-alcoholic visitors to pubs and cafés,” Sinha said.

Rise in health concerns among consumers and increase in adoption of a healthy lifestyle have also led to growth in demand for non-alcoholic beer, said Anirudh Agarwal, an entrepreneur member of IAN.

India-specific data on the non-alcoholic beer market size is not readily available but globally it was $4.52 billion in 2017 and is expected to grow to $8.07 billion by the end of 2025, according to QY Research. Anheuser-Busch InBev is the world leader, with 22% market share in 2017, added the report.

Investors

India Quotient had marked the first close of its third fund at $30 million (Rs 195 crore) earlier in April. The fund had said it intends to invest more in consumer brands, thanks to the jump in its investment ticket size.

The third fund is expected to write bigger cheques of Rs 3.25 crore ($500,000), compared with Rs 1-2 crore earlier from the previous two funds.

The firm’s investments include SME financing platform Lendingkart, job portal iimjobs.com, online lender focused on the two-wheeler market CreditMate, wealth management app WealthTrust, online retailer FabAlley, and home entertainment firm Creo.

The other investor in Coolberg, IAN, is the country’s most prolific angel network. Last year, it attained the first close of its maiden IAN Fund at Rs 175 crore (around $27 million). IAN Fund, of size Rs 450 crore, is registered with Securities and Exchange Board of India. The fund invests in sectors such as healthcare and medical devices, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, Software as a Service, marketplaces, fin-tech, Big Data and hardware.

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