Sula Vineyards (C): Series E and Beyond - What Next? The Ownership Conundrum
The case focuses on the risks and rewards of early-stage investing in a successful emerging market consumer start-up (i.e. non-tech), from seed funding in 2004 to raising expansion capital in 2019. We observe the founder of Sula Vineyards, a winemaker from the Nasik Valley in India, as he makes decisions about external fundraising. Case (A) takes the seed investor perspective. It follows Deepak Shahdadpuri, who stays invested in Sula for 13 years, gradually reducing his equity stake along the way. Cases (B) and (C) follow the company as it raises successively larger rounds of funding to fuel its growth and international expansion. As the Sula brand and CEO Rajeev Samant become increasingly well-known, the company attracts the attention of diverse investors ranging from European family offices, Asian institutional investors, venture capital and growth equity, and sovereign wealth funds. Given its emerging market setting, the case can be used to explore investment risks from political and regulatory uncertainty, and currency risk for US$-based institutional investors.