Investment to Support Product Innovation, Go-to-Market Acceleration and Strategic Acquisitions Funding Helps Establish Small-to-Medium Sized Business Support Fund for COVID-19 Relief
WILMINGTON, N.C., April 23, 2020 — Next Glass (the “Company”), a leading global provider of software to the beverage alcohol industry, today announced a significant growth investment by affiliates of Providence Strategic Growth (“PSG”), the growth equity affiliate of Providence Equity Partners, a premier asset management firm focused on the media, communications, education, software and services industries. The investment aims to fuel product innovation and growth for the Company’s consumer-facing platforms – Untappd, BeerAdvocate, and Untappd Live! – as well as its business products, including Untappd for Business and Untappd Marketplace. The investment also intends to support the Company’s pursuit of add-on acquisitions of technology platforms serving beverage alcohol producers, wholesalers, resellers and consumers. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
“PSG’s impressive track record of partnering with category-leading software businesses and supporting continued growth, both organically and through acquisitions, made the firm an ideal partner,” said Trace Smith, CEO of Next Glass. “Since our founding in 2013, we’ve been on a mission to advance the beverage industry through the introduction of innovative technologies serving a global audience of millions of consumers and tens of thousands of breweries, bars, restaurants, and other venues. Our team is committed to continuing the development of best-in-class software solutions for our users and business partners and is excited by the prospect of welcoming other pioneering companies into the Next Glass family as we grow.”
Next Glass’s consumer-facing platforms, Untappd and BeerAdvocate, are leading independent sources for beer information, ratings, reviews, and discussion online. Founded by Greg Avola and Tim Mather in 2010, the Untappd app has 8 million users globally that have recorded nearly 1 billion “check-ins”. Untappd has been featured on Best Apps lists published by TIME and The New York Times and has been featured in The Economist, TechCrunch and The Ringer. BeerAdvocate, founded in 1996 by Todd and Jason Alström, has been a go-to source for information about beer and a benchmark for beer reviews and ratings. BeerAdvocate has hosted its renowned Extreme Beer Fest for 17 years and the platform is focused on growing its Live! division to offer more world-class festivals and events around the world for both the BeerAdvocate and Untappd communities.
The Company’s SaaS platform, Untappd for Business, is used by nearly 20,000 venues in 75 countries to publish and promote menus for beer, wine, cocktails, and food in print, online, and using in-store digital signage. Additionally, it recently launched Untappd Marketplace, a web-based B2B communication tool connecting alcohol wholesalers and self- distributing breweries and their customers to streamline the alcohol ordering process. PSG’s investment will be used to accelerate development progress and go-to-market expansion for both Untappd for Business and Untappd Marketplace.
“Trace and the Next Glass team have built an exceptional brand and technology platform, with a passionate consumer base, in a highly fragmented and growing market,” said Matthew Stone, Principal at PSG. “We have been impressed by the Company’s growing offering and strong value proposition to both SMB and enterprise customers across the globe and are excited to partner with the Next Glass team to further build on their success.”
In conjunction with PSG’s investment, Next Glass has deferred renewals on Untappd for Business subscriptions for existing customers and, for new customers, is offering an immediate 80% off their first month on Untappd for Business, cumulatively representing nearly $2 million of near-term relief for customers during the COVID-19 crisis.
“We are grateful for PSG’s support in establishing this $2 million Small-to-Medium Sized Business Support Fund. Breweries, bars, restaurants and other pillars of local communities around the world deserve our support during this trying period,” added Trace Smith. “We’re committed to helping these businesses re-open and expand after restrictions lift.”
Lumos Partners served as financial advisor to Next Glass. Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP served as legal advisor to PSG, and Snell & Wilmer L.L.P. served as legal advisor to Next Glass. Kurt Taylor, founder of Next Glass and former CEO, and new CEO, Trace Smith, will both continue to serve on the Company’s Board of Directors. PSG is Next Glass’s sole outside investor.
About Next Glass
Founded in 2013 by Kurt Taylor, Next Glass develops software and creates experiences that connect enthusiasts, retailers, and producers in the beverage alcohol industry. Its award-winning Untappd mobile application and BeerAdvocate website are used by millions of beer enthusiasts around the world and its menu publishing software tool, Untappd for Business, enables venues to streamline publication and promotion of their beer, wine, cocktail, and food menus. The Company’s recently-introduced Untappd Marketplace enables alcohol resellers to streamline ordering of beer, wine, and spirits from wholesalers and self-distributing breweries. The Company recently established its Live! division in late-2019 to produce world class festivals and events for the Untappd and BeerAdvocate communities. The Company is headquartered in Wilmington, NC with offices in Charlotte and Durham, NC. For more information, please visit:
About Providence Strategic Growth Capital Partners L.L.C.
Providence Strategic Growth (“PSG”) is an affiliate of Providence Equity Partners (“Providence“). Established in 2014, PSG focuses on growth equity investments in lower middle market software and technology-enabled service companies. Providence is a premier global asset management firm that pioneered a sector-focused approach to private equity investing with the vision that a dedicated team of industry experts could build exceptional companies of enduring value. Since the firm’s inception in 1989, Providence has invested in more than 180 companies and is a leading equity investment firm focused on the media, communications, education and information industries. PSG is headquartered in Boston, MA, with offices in London and Kansas City. For more information on PSG, please visit www.provequity.com/private-equity/psg, and for more information on Providence, please visit www.provequity.com.