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Tree Sharing Soul to Expand in UK

Posted: Friday, 05 December 2014 15:38

Tree Sharing Soul to Expand in UK

Dec 05: Soul Tree Wines, set up in the UK by the Indian-born duo of Melvin D'Souza and Alok Mathur, is expanding its operations by raising £350,000 funding through crowdsourcing, giving also an opportunity to investors in India who may want to invest in a winery with a foreign body and Indian soul, writes Subhash Arora who feels that this seemingly non-conventional online method could also be used by smaller Indian wineries who are looking for funds from small investors overseas

Click For Large ViewLooking to expand your winery operations by getting funds from small investors? Looking to invest in some winery but feeling frustrated that there is no opportunity currently in India where you could be a silent partner with small investment? This could be a nice opportunity to invest with Soul Tree Wines in UK, where one can invest and become a part-owner with as low as £10. Soul Tree is looking for a total funding of £ 350,000 through crowdfunding and giving out 16.5% of the total equity, making the valuation of the company at a cool £2.12 million, without any investment in vineyards, winery or accessories.

Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet. The company is working through Crowdcube which claims to be the world’s leading investment crowdfunding platform and enables anyone to invest alongside professional investors in start-up, early stage and growth businesses through equity, debt and investment fund options.

As of today (December 5) the company has already collected £115,970 (33% of the target) from 63 investors-the highest individual investment being £22,000 and money coming in already from India, Australia, Singapore, Dubai and of course the UK.

"The UK market alone has more than 10,000 Indian restaurants and sells millions of Indian takeaways each week. Soul Tree wines not only complement, but enhance spicy cuisines and the sector has huge, almost untapped, potential," says Melvin who is originally from Nashik, adding that 'the wines are already selling through 24 distributors to France, Germany, 29 American States- and other markets are on the way. They are already being stocked by a few Michelin star restaurants and great boutique hotels.’

The two met in Oxford while doing their MBA and are quite passionate about Indian wines. They founded Soul Tree in 2009-10 near Birmingham and launched the wines in January 2011. As Click For Large ViewAlok Mathur informed delWine a few months ago in a telephonic chat, they had earlier spent several months scouting the Nashik wine belt before choosing the wineries when they could have found a cushy job with some corporations. They take turns and visit India frequently, working with their consultant winemaker Rajesh Rasal, according to their website.

Bigger Indian wineries like Sula, Four Seasons, Grover and Nine Hills do not produce third party labels but several other small wineries like York, Vintage Wines, Vinsura and Renaissance are known to be amenable to private branding. As a business model, the duo has chosen to promote their own brand-Soul Tree rather than represent different Indian wineries and the funds collected will go into promoting their brand. The cliché that Indian food goes well with Indian wine is similar to the marketing strategy adopted by Karan Billimoria, who successfully created a market in UK for Indian ‘Cobra’ beer to be consumed with Indian food .‘There are 40 million British who drink wine and many millions of them love Indian curry. They know what a well paired wine can do to the food and are our potential customers,’ asays Alok.

The crowdsourcing fundraising issue closes on January 8. But please be warned that investments of this nature carry risks to your capital as well as potential rewards.

For an earlier related article, visit

Selling Wines with Indian Soul in UK

Subhash Arora

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Tags: Soul Tree Wines, Melvin D'Souza, Alok Mathur, Crowdcube, Rajesh Rasal

       

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