Bengaluru: Diageo Plc-owned United Spirits Ltd said it has picked up a 26% equity stake for ₹ 27 crore in payment technology start-up HipBar Pvt. Ltd, which caters to the alcoholic beverage (alcobev) market through its mobile wallet and delivery app.
HipBar was set up in 2015 and currently operates in Bengaluru and Chennai. The investment is expected to provide United Spirits with growth opportunities in the online and e-commerce channels.
“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. This investment allows us to discover ideas that anticipate shifts in consumer behaviour and enables us to remain at the forefront of trends," United Spirits chief executive officer Anand Kripalu said in a statement.
With the HipBar app, age-verified consumers can browse through a range of drinks, select brands of their choice and pay for them using the company’s mobile wallet. Consumers will then have the option of either getting the liquor delivered to their doorsteps, where permitted, or picking it up from retail outlets at their convenience.
The alcobev payment start-up says it has developed a stringent age verification process as well as highly compliant standard operating procedures to ensure its delivery service fosters a safe drinking environment in India.
HipBar’s net worth for 2016-17 was ₹ 3.81 crore.
United Spirits said the investment was completed on 25 June and paid for in cash by way of a demand draft in favour of HipBar. It also said HipBar will continue to be run as an independent enterprise driven by its founding team, led by Prasanna Natarajan.