Chennai-based digital payments startup dedicated to serving the needs of the alcohol beverage industry HipBar has secured an investment of $3.96 Mn (INR 270 Mn) from beverage alcohol company Diageo India. With this deal, Diageo has acquired 26% stake in the company.
Diageo India through its legal entity United Spirits Limited will support HipBar’s digital ambition and help expand its footprint across more markets.
Founded in 2015, HipBar enables age verified consumers to browse and order a range of alcoholic beverages and get them delivered at their doorstep (where permitted) or pick it up from a retail store at their convenience.
The company offers two apps, HipBar Delivery – the app allows customers to order drinks and have them home delivered which is currently active in Bengaluru and HipBar Pay – a payment solution that’s currently active in TASMAC mall outlets in the Chennai region.
HipBar has developed a stringent age verification process as well as highly compliant standard operating procedures to ensure that the company’s delivery service fosters a safe drinking environment in India.
On the B2B front, the startup works closely with the beverage alcohol industry and the government to custom build software and deploy technology projects that will help the category to move forward in a compliant and sustainable manner.
Some of these digital initiatives include last mile alcohol delivery platform, SaaS-based e-governance module for use by Governments, HipBar Point-of-Sale (POS) for standalone licensed retail stores and HipBar Pay for government controlled retail stores.
Diageo India, a subsidiary of global leader Diageo plc manufactures, sells and distributes premium alcohol beverage brands such as Johnnie Walker, Black Dog, Black & White, VAT 69, Antiquity, Signature, Royal Challenge, McDowell’s No.1, Smirnoff, Captain Morgan and Four Seasons.
Commenting on the investment in HipBar, Anand Kripalu, CEO and Managing Director, Diageo India said, “Ecommerce is making an impact on just about every industry imaginable, and the beverage alcohol industry is set to be the next sector to be disrupted by the continued shift to digital. At Diageo India, we have been innovating and meeting consumer trends by offering new products and formats.”
He further added that the investment will allow Diageo India to discover ideas that anticipate shifts in consumer behaviour and will enable them to remain at the forefront of trends. “We believe that HipBar is creating the right conduit for all players across the industry as it opens up a new and convenient route to reach consumers within the industry’s complex regulatory environment,” he said.
The country’s hyperlocal market is poised to touch $345 Mn by 2020, according to a report by Ken Research, titled “India Hyperlocal Market Outlook to 2020 – Driven by Rising Startups Firms and Fluctuating Investments”.
With a huge untapped market of alcohol delivery in India, HipBar is a promising prospect for the booming hyperlocal startup industry in India.