Distill Ventures, the independently operated and Diageo-backed drinks accelerator, has announced an additional investment of $5 million (€5 million) into its Pre-Accelerator Programme.
The programme is aimed at 'building and scaling the drinks brands of the future', with a focus on entrepreneurs from underrepresented communities.
Distill Ventures Pre-Accelerator Programme
The additional $5 million in global funding is committed by Diageo, Distill Ventures' sole funding partner, over the next year.
Through the Pre-Accelerator, the group has created a more accessible means of unlocking seed funding, a barrier reported by entrepreneurs from historically underrepresented communities.
Since its launch, it has attracted more than 300 applications from a broad range of applicant backgrounds, with close to 50% of applicants identified as women, 50% as Black/African/Caribbean, 17% as Latinx, 16% as having Asian heritage, and 11% as LGBTQIA+.
In year one, Distill Ventures backed 10 drinks brands in the United Kingdom, United States, and the Netherlands.
These included a wide range of drinks, from apéritifs to tequilas.
Frank Lampen, CEO of Distill Ventures, said, "We’re incredibly proud of the work we’ve done over the past year, identifying and partnering with highly impressive entrepreneurs from underrepresented communities, but we recognise that this is just the beginning. Our focus has been, and will continue to be, helping founders unlock seed funding, and we look forward to working together to achieve further growth."
The Pre-Accelerator from Distell Ventures offers an initial investment of up to £350,000, or $500,000, and six to twelve months of acceleration support to prospective founders.
Afterwards, the company can seek further investment from Distill Ventures and Diageo, or other capital sources or strategic partners without restriction.
With a broader and more global focus, the accelerator programme will target a wider range of founders and geographies in year two, with added emphasis on recruiting more women and LGBTQIA+ entrepreneurs.