SAN FRANCISCO — Après, a digital-first company based in San Francisco offering a plant-based protein beverage developed specifically for premium whole-body replenishment, announced today the closing of a $1.1 million seed series fundraising round led by Rocana Venture Partners.
Après launched its Direct-to-Consumer sales nationally in Nov. 2017, and generated early momentum on the back of its online community formed prior to launch. The brand’s growth accelerated through Q1 as customer acquisition and repeat purchase rates significantly outpaced forecasts. This early success, with realized total sales 50% higher than anticipated, led to a stockout in late-Q1 and a 2,000+ customer waitlist from both existing and new customers. In less than six months in market, Après believes that it’s changing the conversation around protein nutrition.
“We developed Après to meet a need in the market that our consumer, especially women, was asking for — a clean, functional formula that balances protein and other complementary ingredients to provide essential nutrition and great taste for on-the-go and post-workout replenishment,” said co-founder Darby Jackson. “Our product has resonated across a broad range of consumers nationwide who have quickly incorporated Après into their wellness routines.”
On the back of strong demand, Après accelerated their raise for more capital to build on initial momentum, quickly restock, and develop a range of new product options to continue delivering to consumer needs. The $1.1 million seed series raise led by Rocana Venture Partners, bringing the company to $1.6 million total capital raised to-date, was filled out by both new Angels and re-ups from the previous round. Notable new participants include Kyle Vogt (CEO of Cruise Automation), Joey Cannata (former EVP of Sales & Distribution at Rockstar Energy), Kevin Lin (co-founder of Twitch), and Filipp & Polina Chebotarev (Managing Partners of Cambridge Companies).
“Rocana’s investment philosophy is to support next generation CPG brands that are effectively engaging consumers as we continue to see a rapid movement towards better living,” said Sumesh Sachar, Managing Partner. “Après embodies our philosophies perfectly with a clean and nutritious product for the modern on-the-go consumer. Equally as important, Sonny and Darby have the combined skill set for building a brand that they live and breathe with the type of never-ending passion and drive that we look for in our founders.”
Following the recent raise and re-stock, Après will continue to grow the brand through nontraditional beverage channels and focus on community building and engagement through authentic experiences that bring the brand to life. “We’ve focused on building real relationships with our customers, both online and off, to inform our strategy and develop a community around the Après brand,” said co-founder Sonny McCracken. “It’s still early, but we’re seeing some strong signals that we’re headed in the right direction. With the recent raise, we can use the proceeds to build on our early successes and amplify our growth.”
Après is now back in stock with Sea Salt Chocolate and Mint Cacao and will be debuting new flavors in 2018.
Founded in 2016, Après is a digital-first beverage company founded by Sonny McCracken and Darby Jackson. In Nov. 2017, Après launched the first plant-based protein beverage developed specifically for premium whole-body replenishment. Après targets the modern wellness consumer, specifically women, who desire a clean, balanced replenishment option with great taste. The functional formula is made with a proprietary blend of organic plant protein (13g per bottle) from pea, chia, cacao, and hemp, delivering a full amino acid profile that promotes satiation and a healthy, lean physique. It’s the first protein beverage formulated with organic virgin coconut oil that supplies sustainable energy through metabolic fats (MCTs) and a silky smooth texture, and organic coconut water that provides electrolyte hydration. The low sugar (6g per bottle), snack-sized beverage (180-190 calories per bottle) is made with all vegan, kosher, non-GMO, dairy-free, gluten-free and soy-free ingredients. Après is available in two flavors: Mint Cacao and Sea Salt Chocolate in 11oz Tetra Pak cartons that are shelf-stable and offer an easy, on-the-go solution. Bottles are sold in 6- and 24-packs and are available online along with a variety of subscription packages. For more information, please visit www.drinkapres.com or follow @drinkapres.
About Rocana Venture Partners
Rocana Venture Partners (“Rocana”) is based in Los Angeles and is focused on supporting better-for-you CPG brands that are either category creators or category disruptors. Rocana supports visionary entrepreneurs in the early stages of building next-generation food and beverage brands, with an emphasis on sustainable, natural, organic, functional, healthy indulgence and an increasing preference towards plant-based. Rocana primarily invests in U.S. based brands, but selectively looks at Asia and South America based brands as the consumer movement towards health and wellness becomes global. In that regard, Rocana also helps its portfolio companies gain an international presence through its strategic partnerships. Après joins the portfolio with other like-minded brands including Pop & Bottle, Splendid Spoon, The Modern Pop, and WTRMLN WTR.