As you all know by now, I’m an unabashed fan of the little guy. I admire the innovators, entrepreneurs and risk takers. They’ve been the heart and soul of the beverage industry for years – and I’ve seen many of them turn into the standard bearers of the industry. Arizona, Vitaminwater, Honest Tea, Fuze, Sparkling Ice, Monster, Body Armor and others all started with the same humble beginnings that face the dreamers of today. I was privy to these brands from inception, and followed their successes to the present day. It has been my privilege to have worked with so many of them.
The newest generation of entrepreneurs is now rising, but the times are different. In earlier days, these brands were mostly self-funded, with infusions from friends and families. Yes, investors were often involved, but they were more passive. Today is a new breed as the stakes are higher and capital is more essential to bringing the brands to market. One just has to attend our BevNET Live to understand the stakes. Or you can go onto our site and receive our daily newsletters to see the importance of investment to enable these brands to grow. Money makes it happen.
Every day, I’m in conversations with emerging brands that are in need of capital – and until recently, much of what I heard was frustration. They would be in contact with investors, but for the most part, the money wouldn’t come in. There would be big talk from the money people that they wanted to invest, but it would be mostly talk. The amount of investment wouldn’t match the number of worthy companies seeking funding. Whenever they read a BevNET post about a brand raising money, they were perplexed why it didn’t happen for them. Yes, there were a myriad of reasons, some quite valid, but it’s always sad when worthy brands don’t make it because of a cash crunch.
Today, though, I’m very excited about the prospects. Over the past few months, I’ve heard frustrations turn to optimism. Last week alone, I met or spoke with five different brands that are closing in on funding. That wasn’t happening even a year ago. I am often called upon to speak with potential investors at the behest of the brand owners. The conversations are positive and there is realism in the mutual goals of both parties. They all want to make it happen.
Beverages have always been an exciting category for investors. Now they’re turning talk into action. With so many great brands out there seeking funding, it’s great to see funding seeking brands. It’s long overdue, but I’m grateful it’s happening.