Matrix Partners leads follow-on round in women-focused health drinks maker &ME

Multi-stage investor Matrix Partners has led a follow-on investment round in food and beverage brand &ME, which focusses on women’s health and wellness.

Early-stage consumer-focused venture capital fund Sauce.vc also put in money, coming on board as a new investor in this round, &ME said in a statement.

The company will use the money to expand its team, scale operations nationally and widen its product offering, the statement added. It will soon launch its fitness range of products for fat metabolism, immunity and strength. “The response from the market has been overwhelming and satisfying,” said Ankur Goyal, founder and chief executive of &ME.

This was Sauce.vc's second investment. Last week, it backed a Surat-based innerwear brand.

"&Me fits our thesis perfectly by being focussed on women’s daily health and lifestyle challenges with preservative free, clean and convenient products," said Manu Chandra, founder of Sauce.vc.

Operated by Bengaluru-based Merhaki Food and Nurition Pvt. Ltd, &Me was launched in September 2017 by IIT-Delhi alumni Goyal. It claims that its drinks are a combination of fruits, vegetables, spices, herbs and flowers with no added sugar or preservatives.

The company 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 contains ayurvedic herbs like Shatavari and Ashwagandha that help women maintain balance during their monthly menstrual cycles and also relieves pre-menstrual symptoms.

The company is also backed by Rohit MA, managing director at women and child care-focussed Cloudnine Hospitals. In August last year, Matrix had put in an undisclosed sum in &ME.

Healthy beverages

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.

In 2018, KivaShots, an ayurvedic healthcare beverages startup, raised angel funding from several wealthy individuals.

In October 2017, Mumbai-based Rakyan Beverages Pvt. Ltd, which 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 ($2 million then) in a pre-Series A round led by angel investors Siddhartha Gupta and Ashvin Chadha.

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