Austin, Texas-based beverage technology company HeatGenie, which manufactures a self-heating aluminum can, has closed a $6 million round of funding led by ARTIS Labs, with additional investment from Almanac Investments and private individuals.
San Francisco-based ARTIS Labs is primarily an investor in tech companies, such as YouTube and Aruba, but has waded into the food and beverage space with food discovery platform ChefsFeed. Almanac Investments has a larger CPG portfolio, which includes Spindrift, Noma Lim, New Barn and Foodstirs, along with better-for-you restaurant chain Sweetgreen.
HeatGenie’s single-use, self-heating can uses a solid-state mechanism that is activated by turning the lid and can raise the temperature of liquids to between 120 and 170 degrees Fahrenheit in about two minutes. The company, which licenses the can technology to ready-to-drink beverage brands, has raised $9.6 million to date.
The new investment comes as HeatGenie, founded in 2009, continues to scale and move towards commercializing its proprietary technology. In November, Whole Foods Market co-CEO Walter Robb joined the company as an investor and a member of the company’s board of directors. The company’s board of advisors also includes Brian Goldberg, chief strategy officer and EVP of corporate development at Amplify Snack Brands; Jason Buechel, EVP and CIO at Whole Foods Market; Danny Stepper, co-founder and and CEO of L.A. Libations; and James Tonkin, founder and president of Healthy Brand Builders. No additional board members or advisors were added as part of this investment.
In an interview with BevNET, HeatGenie CEO Mark Turner said the new funding will allow HeatGenie to complete product development and begin partnering with brands to launch beverages in the can.
“It’s really going to help us accelerate getting into the market from commercial standpoint,” he said. “In the near term, we can bring on consultants to help get brands on the market, and in the long-term, we can move towards our goal of full automation.”
Turner noted that HeatGenie’s technology could be used for food products, but the company is focusing on beverages, in a variety of categories, for its introduction to the market. The initial launch will be in 8-12 oz. cans, though other sizes would likely follow as the company continues to develop innovations.
“We chose [those sizes] because that’s where most beverages are living these days,” Turner said. “We expect to learn — we’re not coming to market and then we are done.”
HeatGenie isn’t the only company exploring temperature-changing packaging innovations. Last month, The Joseph Company announced a partnership with 7-Eleven for a test launch of Fizzics Sparkling Cold Brew Coffee in 15 locations in the Los Angeles market. The product is packaged in Joseph Company’s proprietary Chill-Can, which chills the liquid in 75-90 seconds and stays cold for 30- to 35 minutes.