LOS ANGELES — Wicked Lekker, Inc. announced it has closed on their first ever round of funding after launching their self-funded startup, “Rooibos Superfood Tea Brand,” two years ago.
Led by Wavemaker Partners, one of the most active cross border early stage venture capital firms today, the funding was legally advised by two powerhouse law firms – Latham & Watkins and Greenberg & Glusker. Other consumer products veterans participated in the funding round as well.
Wicked Lekker is a line of Organic Rooibos Superfood Teas with Moringa that is founded by Mylan Janoplis—a former US Marine who participated in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm—and his wife, Pamela Stahl, who was born and raised in Germany and had been working in the film industry in the US and overseas when they met.
“For a husband and wife team that lost everything in a California wildfire and had no insurance, we are proud to have been able to get back on our feet and bounce back. We are adventurous entrepreneurs and having traveled to 70+ countries around the world, we are always looking for the next adventure. We have been eating moringa for about six years and we have drank rooibos tea all our lives, so one day in Africa 3 years ago we decided to make Wicked Lekker Superfood Teas,” said Mylan.
Wicked Lekker is a non-alcoholic, functional ready-to-drink rooibos tea-based beverage with added extract of moringa–for a boost of energy and nutrition. It is caffeine-free, certified Organic, and certified Kosher.
Rooibos (red bush) grows only in South Africa, and is known for being caffeine-free, as well as being rich in anti-inflammatories, antioxidants, polyphenols and numerous other health compounds and benefits. The other main ingredient in Wicked Lekker is moringa (miracle tree). Moringa is one of the fastest growing Superfoods and is thought to be the most nutritious tree in the world. Moringa is purported to boost the immune system, aid digestion, and enhance mental focus & clarity. Pound for pound, it contains more vitamin C than oranges, more protein than eggs, and more iron than spinach. It contains 9 essential amino acids that give you a natural energy boost that will not keep you awake if you choose to sleep.
How did the name Wicked Lekker originate? “Wicked” because Mylan is originally from Cape Cod, Massachusetts and “Lekker”—an Afrikaans word—meaning, “awesome, cool, tasty, sweet, luscious and amazing.” It seems to be the perfect descriptive name.
Wicked Lekker Superfood Teas are currently being sold from San Diego to Santa Barbara California at some great stores in the natural sector such as the Erewhon Markets, Lazy Acres, Jimbo’s Naturally, Mother’s Markets, and many more.
The funds will be used to further the growth in Southern California and Hawaii, move into the Northern California market, and also launch in Texas & the Gulf Coast.
To help scale the business, Wicked Lekker has signed on with Impact Group Natural for representation in these three specific regions.
According to Pamela, Wicked Lekker Superfood Teas is focusing on a niche that they seem to fit perfectly, based on their own real world experience. “ Mylan & I have done hundreds and hundreds of store demos and there is no better way to hear what the consumers really want.”
The brand is also socially responsible and in the spirit of giving back, they partnered up with the Wildlife Conservation Network. By doing so, they donate to the ElephantCrisis Fund in support of the most effective projects aimed at protecting elephants and stopping the ivory trade.