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Spearhead secures $3m for global growth

African spirits group Spearhead has raised US$3 million in funding to accelerate its international expansion and launch new products.

Spearhead founders
Spearhead founders Chris Frederick and Damola Timeyin

The Black-owned company secured the funding from Pendulum, an investment and advisory platform.

The investment, which marks Spearhead’s entry into the US market, will enable the firm to scale its marketing efforts and power its next phase of growth.

Spearhead was founded in the UK in March 2021 by Chris Frederick and Damola Timeyin. It has sold 35,000 units since entering the market.

The company produces a portfolio of brands with African provenance including Bayab Gin and Vusa Vodka. The products are made with botanicals from across the African continent.

Frederick, co-founder and CEO, said: “With a lack of Black-owned African spirits brands exported globally, we have made it our mission to connect the world to Africa through our spirits.

“Our brands not only increase diversity and challenge cultural bias in the sector, but being produced on the African continent allows us to show the world what Africans have always known about its culturally and resource rich continent, with products that compete on the world stage in taste and quality, as well as innovation.

“Pendulum’s investment will allow us to realise this vision globally; we are beyond excited about the partnership and their belief in this mission and the power of the African continent.”

Spearhead said it will continue to ‘turn the dial towards towards fairer representation in the drinks market and redefine the industry for good’.

The company will continue to invest in community development across South Africa. Spearhead will also support non-profit organisation uMthombo in getting young people off the streets and provide them with skills training to help gain employment.

Kenny Burns and Donae Burston have also joined Spearhead as strategic partners. Burns is a long-time spirits industry executive with prior roles at vodka brands Cîroc and Grey Goose, and an equity stake in Uncle Nearest whiskey. Burston is the founder and CEO of La Fête du Rosé, a Black-owned rosé brand from St Tropez, France.

Last year, Uncle Nearest launched a US$50 million fund to support minority-owned spirits brands, with BIPOC-founded Hella Cocktail Co receiving a US$5m investment from the fund.

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