United Spirits invests $4m in India’s first alcohol delivery appBy Melita Kiely
Diageo-controlled drinks group United Spirits has acquired a 26% equity stake in India’s “first authorised” alcohol delivery app, HipBar, for Rs 27 crore (US$3.96 million).
HipBar allows age-verified consumers to browse a selection of alcoholic drinks, choose a brand and make their payment through the mobile wallet. They can choose to have the product delivered to their doorstep or to collect it from a retail store of their choice.
The investment from United Spirits will be used to support HipBar’s digital growth and help expand its footprint across more markets.
The team behind the app has worked closely with the alcohol industry and Indian government to build the software and deploy technology projects to further the drinks industry, such as 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.
Anand Kripalu, CEO and managing director, Diageo India, said: “E-commerce 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.
“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. HipBar will continue to be run as an independent enterprise driven by its founding team.”
Prasanna Natarajan, founder of HipBar, welcomed Diageo India’s investment in the firm.
He said: “As a business, our interests will always be subservient to how HipBar is performing in the social sphere and if it is indeed bringing the intended benefits of technology to help people drink more responsibly.
“We hope to bring in the global best practices and build sustainable partnerships with governments, the trade and all the players in the industry to drive this category evolution.”