Twenty is the lucky number of the day as two fast-growing brands — High Brew Coffee and Rebbl — kicked off the weekend by announcing $20 million investment rounds.
Austin, Texas-based High Brew Coffee closed a celebrity-laden Series C round with a raise led by past investor Charles Street Partners, a two-man investment firm founded by former MLB pitcher Huston Street and Charles Attal, a partner at concert and event promotion company C3 Presents. C3 has put on festivals including Lollapalooza and the Austin City Limits Music Festiva, the latter of which has partnered with High Brew for cross promotions.
Charles Street worked to bring together a group of individual celebrity investors to complement the round, which included individual investments from the members of rock band Kings of Leon, which is made up of brothers Caleb, Nathan, and Jared Followill and their cousin Matthew Followill, as well as celebrity chef Tim Love.
While the investors all bring personal brand equity and high visibility platforms of their own, High Brew CMO Mari Johnson stressed to BevNET that “these are not endorsers” and they will take on more active roles in the brand beyond promotion.
“This is a partnership and they are putting their own money into it,” Johnson said “I can guarantee there’s going to be ways where you see these investors supporting the brand above and beyond, but it’s all going to work for them. We’re not looking to take advantage, we’re not looking to commercialize them and do it in a way that’s inauthentic.”
Johnson added that there are more celebrities who will be involved with the brand in the near future.
The $20 million in the round will primarily go toward growing High Brew’s marketing, Johnson said, with a focus on digital channels. In addition to supporting existing retail and distribution partners, some marketing will work to highlight upcoming and recent innovations, including the company’s new multi-serve 32 oz. package, which previously launched in Safeway/Albertsons and will expand into Whole Foods Market stores in July.
“Up until now so much has been grassroots marketing, so we’re going to be going deeper in the activations that we’re already involved with and prop them up further,” Johnson said. “You’ll see us amplifying these efforts around our existing partnerships.”
High Brew, as part of the Dr Pepper Snapple Group allied brands family, sold more than 24 million cans in 2017 and is currently growing at 55 percent nationally in the grocery/mass/drug channels over the past eight weeks, according to the company.
While High Brew is rapidly expanding the presence of ready-to-drink cold brew coffee with big pop culture names, Rebbl’s organic coconut-milk super-herb beverages has received its $20 million cash boost from food and beverage investment stalwart — and High Brew investor — CAVU Venture Partners.
As part of CAVU’s investment, Clayton Christopher, co-founder and managing partner of the venture capital and growth equity firm, will join Rebbl’s board of directors. The funding will also allow Rebbl to grow its team and increase marketing, R&D, and sales efforts.
“We are so excited to welcome CAVU Venture Partners to the Rebbl family,” said Rebbl CEO Sheryl O’Loughlin in a press release. “It was important to our team that whoever we brought on during this round of funding felt as passionate as we do about our Rebbl mission.”
The brand is currently available in more than 7,000 retailers nationwide and has experienced triple digit growth since launching in 2011. The company previously raised $10 million in a round led by Boulder Investment Group in December 2016.