Rage Coffee, a digitally native FMCG brand, closed a round of funding led by Refex Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm with participation from members of the angel network – Keirutsu Forum Chennai and a clutch of other prominent investors. The round also saw participation from Harminder Sahni, founder and managing director of Wazir Advisors, T D Mohan, former joint managing director of CavinKare, Dr Rajan Srikanth, co-president of Keiretsu Forum Chennai & Singapore, Prakash Katama, former chief executive officer of TVS Electronics, Uday Sodhi, former business head at SonyLIV, Ajay Sarupria, a seasoned PE investor, TV Actor Rannvijay Singh Singha, A Kumar, founder of Gemini Paints and Sawan Gupta, managing director of Spero Group.
According to the company statement, the freshly infused capital will be used to launch innovative new products, scale-up production, strengthen the team, and expand omni-channel distribution presence. The brand plans to capture market share of the category devoid of any innovation – be it the ingredients, formulations, manufacturing techniques, packaging, distribution, or use of data to be agile.
The company, founded in 2018, was born out of consumer feedback while Bharat Sethi, a serial entrepreneur with close to a decade of experience in building brands online, was working on solving the distribution challenge for new-age FMCG brands. Elaborating on the fundraise, Bharat Sethi, founder and chief executive officer of Rage Coffee, said, “It is my absolute privilege to have such distinguished entrepreneurs join us as investors in this exciting journey. I’ve always been a big believer and propagator of digital-first brands. The next decade will see a wave of disruptive consumer brands from India, taking pole position at the global level, many of which will cross Rs 1000 crore in the top line. We are targeting to be one of those companies, having already captured a high degree of mindshare in a short time. Our approach to supply chain, sourcing, consumer segmentation, product R&D, D2C data-driven DNA combined with a hybrid distribution model and, most importantly, our close relationship with our customers places us in a great spot to build a brand that is indeed poised to capitalize on the immense market opportunity.“ The company had earlier roped in Arijit Mitra, former national sales head at Coke Beverages, in June last year as director of Sales to grow the offline business.
Rannvijay Singh Singha, who invested in the company in July last year and joined the current fundraise as well, mentioned that he’d been a believer in the team & product since day one. He said, “It goes without saying that Rage Coffee is a brand that has quickly captured the imagination of its target audience through a breakthrough product combined with innovative marketing strategies.”
Harminder Sahni, an active angel investor, has joined Rage Coffee’s Board of Advisors in this fundraise. On his investment, he said, “I strongly believe that with Rage Coffee’s unique approach towards blends and flavors, innovative packaging and multichannel distribution, Rage will be disrupting the conventional coffee market quite like CCD did over the last decade.”
According to a Frost & Sullivan report, functional food and beverages in India are currently still in its initial stages, growing at a rate of 17.1% CAGR, expected to be valued at US $4 billion (approximately Rs 30,000 crore) in 2020. Rage Coffee plans to capitalize on the currently untapped opportunity, driven by increasing disposable income and strong health & wellness trends. Rage Coffee products are retailed through its website, all leading online platforms, and over 400 touchpoints offline. The company plans to quadruple sales, reach over 2000 outlets by the end of 2020, and clock a significant chunk of sales from institutional & HoReCa business.
Sridhar Parthasarathi, managing partner at Refex Capital, who has joined the Company’s Board, said, “Rage offers consumers a unique coffee experience with enriched flavors, a clear differentiation, great convenience through their distinctive single shot coffee on-the-go packaging. In addition, the large market opportunity, our bet is on the management spearheaded by Bharat.”