Coca-Cola India buys 15% stake in food delivery startup Thrive

Coca-Cola India's investment in Thrive marks the FMCG's first startup investment in India, offering Thrive a headstart to challenge Zomato and Swiggy's duopoly in the food ordering business.

Coca-Cola India buys 15% stake in food delivery startup Thrive

Monday April 17, 2023,

3 min Read

Coca-Cola India has acquired a 15% stake in Thrive, a Mumbai-based online food ordering and delivery platform, marking the FMCG major's first startup investment in India.

Thrive has raised the capital at a pre-money valuation of Rs 104.68 crore.

The investment is likely to give Thrive a push to take on the food delivery duopoly by Zomato and Prosus-backed Swiggy. It comes at a crucial time when restaurant partners are expressing dissent with the duopoly concerning high commissions and arm-twisting tactics.

Thrive will be able to ramp up its scale by leveraging Coca-Cola India's extensive reach to dining outlets and consumers. It is also launching a new discovery platform in line with its ambition to better serve the discovery needs of the restaurants it serves, Thrive said in a statement on Monday.

Known by Hashtag Loyalty, Thrive has Domino's-owner Jubilant Foodworks as a strategic backer. According to an exchange filing, Coca-Cola India's investment has brought down Jubilant's stake to 29.75% from 35%.

"Hashtag Loyalty Private Limited ('Hashtag'), an associate of Jubilant FoodWorks Limited, has entered into a Securities Subscription Agreement dated April 17, 2023, with Coca-Cola India Private Limited pursuant to which the New Investor has acquired a 15% stake in Hashtag. Accordingly, the Company's stake in Hashtag has reduced from 35% to 29.75% on a fully diluted basis," the filing said.

Jubilant had invested Rs 24.74 crore in Hashtag in October 2021, picking up a 35% stake, attempting to make strategic investments in "promising startups and emerging businesses" to build a multi-brand and multi-country food business enabled by technology, it had earlier said in a statement.

food delivery

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"Coca-Cola India is delighted to partner with the Thrive Now ecosystem as we see digital capability as an essential multiplier for our India growth strategy," Greishma Singh, Vice President, Customer and Commercial Leadership, Coca-Cola India and Southwest Asia, said.

"Meals are a critical consumption occasion for our beverages, so the eat and drink channel is an ideal place for us to be investing in technology and innovating to digitally enable every outlet to provide a superior consumer experience online and offline," she added.

Founded in 2020 by Dhruv Dewan, Karan Chechani, and Krishi Fagwani, Thrive allows users to order food from restaurants. It has a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform to enable restaurants to build their online presence and charges listing commissions at a third of what Zomato and Swiggy offer, Co-founder Dhruv Dewan claims.

"Breaking the duopoly is tough, and we recognise the challenge. Our motive is to offer restaurants and consumers a more diverse and comfortable experience for food ordering," Dewan told YourStory.

Last month, YourStory reported that Zomato is pushing restaurants to spend more, including by advertising on the platform and bearing the cost of cancellations.

(The copy was updated to reflect Dhruv Dewan's correct designation and include comments from Coca-Cola India)

Edited by Suman Singh