Paper Boat maker Hector Beverages raises $29M led by Sofina, Hillhouse Capital

Gurgaon-based Hector Beverages Pvt Ltd, which manufactures soft drinks and beverages under the Paper Boat brand, has raised Rs 183 crore ($29 million) in Series C round led by Belgium-based investment company Sofina and China's Hillhouse Capital.

Existing investors Sequoia Capital and Infosys co-founder N R Narayana Murthy's private investment arm Catamaran Investments Pvt Ltd also participated in the round, the company said.

Although the firm said it raised Rs 180 crore from these four investors, filings with the Registrar of Companies shows it got Rs 3 crore more from few individual investors including Kanwaljit Singh (former senior managing director of Helion Venture Partners), Shripad Nadkarni (former marketing head of Coca-Cola in India) and Shivani Burman (part of Burman family).

The company is now valued around $100 million.

The funding will help the company to expand presence of Paper Boat across the country. It will also introduce new flavours and the funding will also be used for setting up a new manufacturing facility and hire more people.

"In the last couple of quarters, we have witnessed a significant buy-in for our products and with this fund raise we have a competitive advantage and are ideally positioned to leverage this momentum," said Neeraj Kakkar, CEO and founder of Hector Beverages.

Hector Beverages, which entered the beverages market with energy drink under the brand Tzinga, launched Paper Boat in 2013 which is available in nine variants, including Aamras, Jaljeera, Jamun Kala Khatta, Aam Panna, Kokum, Golgappe Ka Pani, Chilled Rasam, Ice Tea in two flavours: Ginger Lemon and Tulsi. It essentially positions itself as an ethnic soft beverages brand.

For Hillhouse Capital, this is its second known investment in India. Founded in 2005 by Zhang Lei, the $20 billion fund house invests in both public market and private firms and is particularly known for backing Chinese startups, especially internet firms in the country. Early this year, it invested in Jaipur-based Girnar Software Pvt Ltd, the company behind auto portal alongwith other investors.

Sofina provides early, expansion, growth and late stage capital to its portfolio companies and seeks to invests in energy and services, consumer goods, satellite operator, retail, finance companies sectors. Previously, it invested in Flipkart, FreeCharge and Myntra.

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