Next Glass bags investment to support innovation and accelerate growth

USA – Next Glass, one of the leading global provider of software to the beverage alcohol industry, has secured a significant growth investment by affiliates of Providence Strategic Growth (PSG), the growth equity affiliate of Providence Equity Partners.

The investment, which makes PSG Next Glass’s sole outside investor, aims to fuel product innovation and growth for the company’s consumer-facing platforms; Untappd, BeerAdvocate, and Untappd Live!

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Next Glass said that the capital infusion will also support its business products, including Untappd for Business and Untappd Marketplace

The company, which acquired certain assets of the beer rating platform, BeerAdvocate in February this year, also intends to use the capital to support the company’s pursuit of add-on acquisitions of technology platforms serving beverage alcohol producers, wholesalers, resellers and consumers.

New CEO appointed

As part of the investment, Kurt Taylor, founder of Next Glass has stepped down as Next Glass’ CEO, and Trace Smith has taken over the role.

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Terms of the transaction were not disclosed but both Taylor and Trace will continue to serve on the company’s Board of Directors.

“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.”

Strong footprint

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 already has 8 million users globally that have recorded nearly 1 billion “check-ins”, the company reveals.

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. Next Glass said that 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.

Accelerating growth

Next Glass said that 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 said that it has deferred renewals on Untappd for Business subscriptions for existing customers and, for new customers.

The company said that it is offering an immediate 80% off their first month on Untappd for Business, cumulatively representing nearly US$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.”

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