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Matrix Partners invests in women-focused health drink maker &ME
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Multi-stage investment firm Matrix Partners has struck a deal to invest an undisclosed amount in food and beverage brand &ME, which focusses on women’s health and wellness, a company statement said.

The company, which was launched in September last year by IIT-Delhi alumni Ankur Goyal, claims that its drinks are a combination of fruits, vegetables, spices, herbs and flowers with no added sugar or preservatives that comprise 30% of women’s daily vitamin and mineral requirements.

“We have focused on specific use cases of a woman’s life using traditional Ayurvedic philosophy in conjunction with modern nutrition guidelines,” said Goyal.

The Bengaluru-based firm, which is operated by Merhaki Food and Nurition Pvt. Ltd offers a range of bioactive beverages for women marketed under brand names ‘Rhythm’ and ‘Grace’.

Grace contains a range of micronutrients that help detoxify blood, cleanse the skin and strengthen hair and nails. Rhythm, on the other hand, contains ayurvedic herbs like Shatavari and Ashwagandha that helps women maintain balance during their monthly menstrual cycles and also relieves pre-menstrual symptoms.

“We see a lot of potential in &ME being able to become a large F&B brand catering to changing, healthier consumer lifestyles,” said Sanjot Malhi, vice president at Matrix India.

The firm is also backed by Rohit M A, managing director of Cloudnine Hospitals, known to be among the country’s leading maternity, women and child care service hospitals.

Matrix India’s investments

The venture capital firm, which has raised three India-focussed funds so far, has been a major investor in the financial services sector, betting on several fin-tech startups in the past few months.

Last month, the investment firm invested in online lender LiquiLoans, which was launched by the co-founders of RentoMojo, an online rental marketplace for furniture, home appliances and bikes.

In April, it invested in Mumbai-based blockchain startup Elemential.

In March, it led the Series A investment round in Bengaluru-based Goddard Technical Solutions Pvt. Ltd, which operates online lending platform Avail Finance.

Late last year, Matrix Partners led investments in online lending platform ZipLoan and credit scoring platform CreditVidya.

The VC firm was also an early investor in gold financing company Muthoot Finance from its first fund.

For its third India-dedicated fund, the VC firm raised $300 million (Rs 2,100 crore) from 43 investors, a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) shows.

Other players

A handful of Indian startups cater to the growing demand for healthy, ready-to-drink beverages. In the juice category, cold-pressed juices are more popular among consumers as they are perceived to be healthier than other packaged products. Investors are, therefore, betting big on this segment.

Earlier this year, KivaShots, an ayurvedic healthcare beverages startup, raised angel funding from several wealthy individuals.

Last October, Rakyan Beverages Pvt. Ltd, a Mumbai-based startup that sells cold-pressed juices under the RAW Pressery brand, had raised Rs 40 crore ($6 million) from VC firms DSG Consumer Partners, Sequoia Capital and Saama Capital.

In December 2016, Fresh Food Concepts Pvt. Ltd, which sells products under the Juice Up brand, had secured Rs 13.5 crore in a pre-Series A round led by angel investors Siddhartha Gupta and Ashvin Chadha.

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