Flavored coconut water brand COCO5 last week announced it has completed a $1.5 million round of fundraising led by Spiral Sun Ventures and Loop Capital CEO Jim Renyolds. Boston Celtics forward Marcus Morris, Washington Wizards forward Markieff Morris and Montreal Canadiens right winger Andrew Shaw also participated in the round, the company’s first.
“The majority of the money will be spent both on production and personnel,” said co-founder CEO Scott Sandler in a call with BevNET. “More doors and more people.”
Among the new staff additions are Brad Downes, who worked more than five years at Groupon, and Lesley Butler, a 15-year CPG marketing veteran who recently worked at PepsiCo. Downes will serve as CFO and Butler will lead the company’s marketing efforts. Jim Reynolds was appointed to COCO5’s newly formed board of directors.
As well as being investors, the Morris brothers and Shaw will all be involved in COCO5’s marketing efforts, which will be conducted mainly through social media.
“A couple of the athletes have actually come to us and requested to make YouTube videos for us,” said Sandler.
In a category that includes deeply resourced brands such as Gatorade, Vitamin Water and BodyArmor, COCO5 aims to differentiate itself with a reduced sugar profile and natural ingredients.
To date, COCO5 offers six flavors — pineapple, passion fruit, cherry, orange, limon and coconut — and is located in over 60 locker rooms across the NHL, MLB, NBA and major college programs.
Along with the investment, the company announced new retail partnerships with Wegman’s, Kroger and Jewel-Osco. COCO5 is also currently available at select locations of Whole Foods and Mariano’s, as well as via Amazon.
COCO5 has also partnered with Marsham International Food Brokers Inc., a full service natural food & beverage broker in Canada.
The company has additional partnerships planned with more athletes including an Olympic gold medalist, and other NBA and NHL players.
“Athletes have requested to get involved due to the fact that they actually believe in the product,” said Sandler.