Distill Ventures to invest $5m in black and Asian drinks start-ups

Distill Ventures has made it easier for underrepresented groups to get pre-seed funding with its pre-accelerator scheme – here's how to apply

Distill Ventures (DV) is aiming to invest $5m in early-stage drinks firms run by underrepresented groups.

Black or Asian start-ups could get investment of up to $500,000 in pre-seed funding for their nascent companies.

Through this pre-accelerator, Distil Ventures has made it easier for underrepresented groups to access seed funding. Racial and gender wealth disparities can mean that founders from these groups have less access to capital.

Figures show that in 2019, only 3 per cent of founders in the UK who raised venture capital funding for their start-ups identified as black, 7 per cent as Asian and 3 per cent of mixed/multiple heritages.

>See also: Black founders raise just 1% of pre-Seed venture capital funding

How can I apply for the pre-accelerator scheme?

If you’re interested, you can apply at www.distillventures.com/pre-accelerator where you’ll be asked to fill out an introductory form. Once reviewed and selected, founders will be supported to develop a six-month business plan to present to Distil Ventures and funding partner, Diageo. Successful founders will then be given initial viewing – typically between $250,000 and $500,000 – and will work with DV to put their business plan into action. After that, founders will be guided through a broader pitch process, with the potential to build a longer-term partnership with DV and Diageo to grow their business.

“In eight years, DV has built a portfolio of next generation brands, but it has become clear to us that we want to dedicate focus on diversifying the ownership of drinks brands by addressing a key barrier head on: access to seed funding,” said Frank Lampen, CEO of Distill Ventures.

Heidi Dillon Otto, managing director of Distill Ventures North America, added, “Over the past six months, we’ve had numerous conversations with underrepresented founders. By bringing new, diverse founders into the world of drinks, we hope to create a ripple effect, in turn empowering them to mentor, hire, and train future drinks entrepreneurs.”

Find out more at www.distillventures.com/pre-accelerator

Further reading

How I’ve grown my business – Dan Ritsema, Cranes Drinks

Avatar photo

Anna Jordan

Anna is Senior Reporter, covering topics affecting SMEs such as grant funding, managing employees and the day-to-day running of a business.

Related Topics