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Zeffer Cider raises $1.2 million to take over Asia

Zeffer Cider has raised $1.2 million in under a week on Snowball Effect.

The Snowball Effect offer went live on March 1. Within 48 hours, it had already reached its $700,000 minimum target, and by march 5 had clocked its $1.2 million maximum target, with 260 investors putting in money.

The money raised will help Zeffer expand into Asia. Josh Townsend, sales and marketing director at Zeffer, said he was thrilled. “We have been truly overwhelmed with the support we have received, particularly achieving our maximum target in such a short timeframe. We welcome all our new shareholders to the Zeffer family and are really excited about creating New Zealand’s next FMCG success story.”

Simeon Burnett, CEO and co-founder of Snowball Effect, said Zeffer’s offer was one of the fastest to reach its target. “We saw a major groundswell of small investors getting involved, with over 200 people investing at the $10,000 or less mark, contributing $670,000 of the total. Larger investors (those that invested over $10,000) also played a significant role, accounting for $530,000 of the total."

The Zeffer team have already hit the ground running in China and Thailand to set up point-of-sale systems, provide customised marketing collateral, and train their local sales team. “The majority of the capital raised will be utilised to drive sales in China and Thailand," said Townsend. "Over the last 12-months we’ve worked to establish pricing, format and channel strategies through market research and industry support networks. Over the next three years we aim to develop the business to a highly profitable and scalable level, where export revenue grows from 17 percent to 50 percent of total sales."

Zeffer Cider was founded in 2009 in Matakana, where it quickly tapped into the cider boom and gained momentum and popularity due to its use of fresh locally grown produce.

Townsend, who has been involved with the company since 2011, said that now is the opportune time for Asian export.

“We will be looking into digital marketing opportunities and how we can best support our sales team on the ground.”

Zeffer is part of the Quench Collective and is sold in high-end bars, cafes, and restaurants around New Zealand, as well as in New World, Glengarry Countdown and Liquorland. Last quarter, it was the fastest growing cider brand in grocery, growing at 75 percent in the same period as last year.

Townsend also said that New Zealand is an important market to build the brand and remain a core focus.

“Export growth benefits us through increased revenue and profit margins but New Zealand is a great place to establish a premium brand."

Zeffer Cider started in Matakana but is about to make the shift down to Hawke's Bay. The company has no plans to take manufacturing out of the country.

“It’s important to us to keep our production in New Zealand,” said Townsend. “We aim to stay true to out New Zealand branding and don't intend to change this."

Josh Townsend, sales and marketing director for Zeffer Cider.

The brand, which already exports to nine markets, currently sees the China and Thailand markets as having the most opportunity to the business.

“The midterm goal is to build export to over 50 percent of revenue in three years. And we are aiming for export sales to account for $3 million of revenue by 2020.”

This story has been updated from a version that first appeared at StopPress.