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This Indian Non-Alcoholic Beverage Brand Plans Rapid Expansion, Eyes Global Markets Known for its range of tonic waters, Mumbai-based Svami, which has raised INR 7.5 crore, plans to use the new funds to bring in more talent and broaden its product offerings

By Debroop Roy

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Svami
Svami Co-Founders Aneesh Bhasin, Rahul Mehra and Sahil Jatana (L-R)

Non-alcoholic beverage brand Svami has raised INR 7.5 crore in a funding round led by Rukam Capital Trust and Niren Shah, the company said on Thursday. Shah is the managing director of Norwest Venture Partners India but has invested in personal capacity. Yukti Securities also participated in the round.

Mumbai-based Svami, known for being one of the first homegrown brands to make tonic waters, is currently present across 8 states in India including Karnataka and Goa.

"We started Svami to create premium aerated beverages that did not exist in the country," Svami's co-founder and chief executive officer Sahil Jatana said in a statement.

Everything In-House

Svami does everything in-house, from the product recipes to the final manufacturing process that includes bottling and packaging. All of its products are manufactured at a factory near Mumbai.

The company worked extensively with experienced hoteliers and those in the food and beverage industry before arriving at the final product line. "It has taken about 8-10 months to arrive at what is finally in the bottles," Jatana told Entrepreneur India.

"We are pretty confident of our palates," said co-founder Aneesh Bhasin. Jatana has previously been associated with selling and marketing coffee while Bhasin has been related to the alcoholic beverages for seven years.

Understanding Markets

The company currently has about 600 points of sales including restaurants, according to Bhasin. "The idea is to be in all modern retail stores," he said, adding that kirana (small retail) stores is also something that they are focusing on.

In Mumbai, the brand is currently available in 120 kirana stores, he said.

Svami is currently still new in most of the markets it is selling into and is therefore taking the time to learn more about them and move accordingly. To cater to the needs of the Indian masses, the company launched a product that was sweeter than their original formula.

The company has also been getting a lot of interest from a lot of smaller Indian cities such as Kochi and Ludhiana, and said that it is looking at deeper penetration across India.

"In about a year or a year and a half, we have to be in at least 1,000 stores," Bhasin said.

Internationally, Svami is currently present only in Hong Kong but expansion plans are underway. "We do want to build a global brand, our product can go head-to-head with any other international company," Bhasin said.

Growth Plans

Svami said it will use the latest funding to expand its presence across markets, increase production capacity, hire senior professionals to fuel growth and on product development.

The company currently has five different products in the market - Original Tonic Water, Light Tonic Water, Cucumber Tonic Water, Grapefruit Tonic Water, and Ginger Ale. Jatana said they plan to launch some newer ones including soda and a lemon-based drink in the ready-to-drink category.

"There is some thought on getting non-alcoholic gin and tonic in a bottle - again iterations of that, so that's what the broader portfolio is looking like for 2020," said Jatana.

Debroop Roy

Former Correspondent

Covering the start-up ecosystem in and around Bangalore. Formerly an energy reporter at Reuters. A film, cricket buff who also writes fiction on weekends.
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