Beer brand Bira 91’s parent B9 Beverages Ltd has appointed former SoftBank India head Manoj Kohli and Khaitan & Co. partner Bharat Anand as independent directors to its board.
Bira91 said it expects to leverage the significant global business experience of the new appointees as it expands its business in India and overseas, as well as strengthen its corporate governance.
Kohli, who was also the former MD and CEO of Bharti Airtel, helped guide SoftBank’s portfolio startups such as Ola, Paytm, Lenskart, Snapdeal and WeWork, Bira91 said in a statement. He currently serves on the board of prominent companies, including WeWork India and Triveni Engineering, and is a senior advisor for Deloitte India and Masters’ Union.
On the other hand, Anand is a corporate lawyer and serves as the partner and office head at Khaitan & Co. Additionally, he is serving as a member on the national executive committee of FICCI and as a member of CII’s Committee on Transparency and Governance.
Commenting on the new appointments, Bira91’s founder and CEO Ankur Jain said, “We are at an important inflection point as a business, and as we continue on our journey of high growth, we would want to ensure that we develop a business that has long-term sustainability, improved risk management and increased quality of corporate governance. With Manoj’s and Bharat’s experience, I am sure we will be able to strengthen Bira 91 considerably on these aspects.”
The move is likely a part of Bira91’s bid to strengthen its board with an eye on going public. Last year, the startup turned into a public entity.
Founded in 2015 by Ankur Jain, Bira 91 claims to sell its beer across 550 towns and cities, spanning over 18 countries. The startup claims to be the fourth-largest beer company in India.
Backed by Kirin Holdings, MUFG Bank, Sofina of Belgium, and Peak XV Partners, Bira91 acquired The Beer Cafe last year. In March, it raised $10 Mn funding from MUFG.
Its net loss rose 12% to INR 445.4 Cr in FY23 from INR 396 Cr in the previous fiscal year, while operating revenue grew 15% year-on-year to INR 824.3 Cr.
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