Native-owned non-alcoholic beer company Sobah Beverages closed its crowdfunding campaign 10 days earlier after raising its maximum amount of $ 1 million.
A total of 596 investors were involved in the increase, which is still open to all investors wishing to express their interest and be on a waiting list for stocks, said Clinton Schultz, co-founder of Sobah Beverages with her partner Lozen McDiarmaid Schultz.
“We are relieved, excited and excited – now is the game! Schultz said.
“And we are delighted to be the first non-alcoholic brewing company to raise investment through a crowdfunding in Australia. As our new co-owners and clients already know – we are First Nations first and we were the first non-alcoholic craft beer to be marketed – we love to start!
But the stimulus exposure was not without its concerns.
“As a First Nations man, I have experienced and witnessed a lot of discrimination and negativity over the years, just like Sobah lately, so I was worried about the reaction. It’s been so ridiculously positive it’s pretty overwhelming to be honest, ”he said.
Schultz also admitted that the run-up to the start of the stimulus was “intense”.
“It was a lot of work, but Birchal had warned us it would be. We’re both hard workers so often when people say “it’s hard work” we take it as “it’s just another day”, but it was a lot of work even by our standards. Lots of preparation, lots of meetings, and lots of late-night writing sessions.
“We didn’t expect there to be as much media interest in the campaign as there have been a lot of craft beer crowdfunding campaigns over the past few years. That’s why we asked James Grugeon of The Good Beer Co to support us on PR.
Brewers have entered the crowdfunding space since it was licensed in Australia in 2017.
Many discussed the complex and onerous regulatory obligations inevitably required for an increase and subsequent changes in corporate structure.
“They’re intense, but well-justified, we think,” Schultz said.
“Regulatory and compliance obligations are an essential part of the process. It is important that potential investors feel they can review and trust what you present in your investment offering and make an informed decision about whether to invest.
“It was a good process for us to go through and we are in a very good position to come out of it. Birchal is everywhere and has a great team and processes. We also had the support of our own legal team at Minter Ellison to make sure everything was covered. “
The founder of Sobah has informed other brewers that preparation is the key to successful crowdfunding.
“First, make sure you start working on your investment offer early, because you will need your entire team – your lawyer, your accountant, your business advisors – to have time to work with you.
“It sounds obvious, but it’s the most important document because it’s what people will base their investment on. It is not something that can be rushed.
Schultz also said it’s critical to be consistent with messaging and your offering.
“Be true to your story, don’t try to emulate someone else’s. If you stray from your real purpose, position, values, ethics, or anything else, people will know.
“The success of equity crowdfunding relies on authenticity, so whatever it is for you and your business, stick to it! “
Hear more from Clinton and Lozen on Beer is a conversation podcast.
Schultz also described it as an iterative process, in which constructive feedback can be taken into account.
“The expression of interest campaign before the investment offer went live was a good opportunity for us to check who was interested, but also to get feedback from people who love our products, our brand and our mission. , before publishing the investment offer. in front of potential investors.
The question of valuations and whether the company is worth what the crowdfunding stock offering dictates has been an issue in the past, as companies would potentially not receive the same valuation from a professional investor or through a redemption.
Sobah’s valuation, offering 9% of the company for $ 1 million, takes its valuation through the CSF to $ 11 million, and Schultz said the team believed it was a fair price.
“We had a lot of smart and experienced investors who calculated the numbers during the campaign and told us they thought it was a good investment, which was nice to hear,” he said.
“We’ve seen significant investment happening in the non-alc industry as a whole and we’ve seen brands in their early days being very popular, so I think people are looking for market potential rather than just income.
“We have a well-established brand and reputation in this space and we are well positioned to remain at the forefront of the market as it continues to flourish here and abroad. “
An experienced and established brand anyway, Sobah will be looking to stay in touch with its new investors, a business that has proven difficult for some breweries after the relaunch.
“We’ll make sure they get things like notices on new products and business decisions, discounts on our beers and merchandise, and invitations to attend annual events.
“We will also call on them to provide feedback on new products, support our marketing and sales, and help us amplify our message and mission. “
Sobah also brought in another Gold Coast firm, Cake Equity, which specializes in the share register, to help with the regulatory side of things.
The journey from here
“In the short term, we will focus on the success of our national agreements with Coles, Dan Murphy’s, Accor and the supply of mine sites,” Schultz explained.
“We will also be supporting all of our other suppliers in New South Wales and Victoria as these markets reopen in a few months. We’ll need a Brand Development Manager or National Sales Representative for this task, so we’ll start looking for the right person for the job.
With forecasts for production to triple in 2022 from 20,000 cartons to 60,000 cartons, a focus on the supply chain, particularly with Sobah’s indigenous foods component, will be underway.
“The conclusion of agreements with international distributors and the further planning of our new zero alcohol brewery and café-brewery here on the Gold Coast / Kombumerri will also take place,” said Schultz.
“We are really excited about the new Aboriginal Food Brewery and Café Brewery. I am especially excited to have a new lab where I can create and develop more native plants and fruit infused soft drinks to expand our range and reach.
“We have found a site for the brewery in a new industrial space expected to be completed in May 2022, and we will resume negotiations on the engineering and manufacturing of the brewery soon.”
Part of Sobah’s success, Schultz suggested, was its strong ethical and cultural values, and it’s something they wanted to continue to develop.
“We were delighted to hear a lot of positive feedback from our new investors about the value they placed on our brand and our purpose and mission,” he said.
“This stems from our ownership and leadership by the First Nations, of course, but also from our very clear objective. “
Longer-term goals include plans to become a BCorp certified business, as well as the development of a new training center for First Nations youth in brewing and coffee and ongoing work with First Nations communities, including including the cultivation of indigenous foods.
“We want to be a pioneer in First Nations business and focused on purpose, not only in the non-alcoholic or beer realm, but as a successful business with a high profile that is doing well in Australia. and abroad.
“It’s because we want to see more First Nations businesses and purpose-led businesses doing good by doing good. We also want to prove that a targeted business is just a good deal.
“We just want to thank each of our 569 new co-owners for believing in us. We feel blessed, grateful and excited to have them with us on the journey now and look forward to starting our big plans to build on our first four years. “