MATI Energy, a brand of guayasa-based, better-for-you energy drinks, last week announced it has raised $2.5 million in a Class A equity financing round, bringing the company’s total equity funding to more than $6 million. According to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing, the financing is part of a total $3,750,000 equity offering. The round was led by IDEA Fund Partners, Duke Angel Network, and DUMAC, and included contributions from local investors around the company’s North Carolina homebase.
In a press release, MATI Energy founder and CEO Tatiana Birgisson said the funds will go toward expanding distribution of the brand into H-E-B stores in Texas, launching with natural foods distributor UNFI, and expanding the company’s sales and marketing team. Birgisson told BevNET Friday that the company expects to be in roughly 1,600 retailers by the end of 2017.
“We are fortunate to have supportive investors that continue to believe in MATI; almost every past investor has re-upped in this round to support our growth initiatives, a tremendous testament to the growth we’ve achieved and our plans for the future,” Birgisson said in a press release.
The brand, which promotes itself as “super healthy” and “more stimulating than a Red Bull” has seen significant growth in the past year. It also opened a 30,000 square foot manufacturing facility, doubled its staff, and entered national retailers including Whole Foods, Kroger, Earth Fare, Lowes Foods, and Sam’s Club. Last May, the then-26-year-old Birgisson was named to Inc. Magazine’s annual “30 Under 30” list.
MATI Energy was founded by Birgisson when she was a student at Duke University. In 2015, MATI won the Google Demo Day competition for startups, becoming the only non-tech company to win the competition. That same year, the company entered Whole Foods. In 2016, MATI reached $1 million in sales with a valuation of $5.5 million, Inc. reported. Last August, the company reported it had raised $2.1 million from 19 investors, which helped fund the addition of an R&D lab at the company’s manufacturing facility and GMP certification.
MATI’s key ingredient guayasa has become a potent ingredient for energy drink brands looking to offer a cleaner, healthier beverage. While the energy drink category remains dominated by a few colossal brands, several natural and organic beverage makers, including MATI, Runa, BluePrint and HiBall, have found some traction with better-for-you energy products.
Speaking to BevNET, Birgisson said the company’s research has found that roughly 40 percent of energy consumers say they “feel guilty” after drinking energy drinks made with artificial ingredients, opening the path for MATI to seize on a need for an alternative to the major brands in the category.
In stores, the company has utilized grab and go coolers to draw in new customers. Birgisson said many of these customers have become bulk buyers of MATI Energy online.
“We have a strong foundation in ecommerce and our velocities continue accelerating in our national retailers, an indication our grassroots marketing initiatives are working and consumers are doubling down on their MATI purchases,” she told BevNET.