Hydration powder mix brand Liquid I.V. today announced the close of a $5 million Series B round of fundraising led by San Francisco-based investment group CircleUp Growth Partners and includes powerhouse music manager Scooter Braun.
Based in Marina del Rey, Calif., Liquid I.V. produces a “hydration multiplier” powder, which is sold in single-serving packets for mixing with 16 oz. of water. The product is available in three flavors — lemon lime, acai berry and passion fruit — and is sold online and at over 20,000 locations including at retailers such as GNC, Costco and Whole Foods Market.
Liquid I.V. was identified by Helio, a proprietary machine learning system used by CircleUp to identify brands with high growth potential. Kiva Dickinson, a partner at CircleUp, explained that the data showed Liquid I.V. had doubled its revenues in consecutive quarters, while boasting strong “cross channel brand power” and social media presence.
Finding the other appealing aspects of the brand, he said, required going beyond the analytics provided by Helio.
“The magnitude of the problem that Liquid I.V. was solving was not inherent in the data,” Dickinson said. “Seventy-five percent of Americans are chronically dehydrated in a way that affects their everyday function. People need to hydrate more, and we need to make that more easy.”
Cohen praised CircleUp as a “best in class” partner for its track record in supporting high growth CPG brands and its commitment to products rooted in science. Indeed, the brand’s broader potential may lie in Cellular Transport Technology (CTT), the delivery system that allows the hydration multiplier to quickly move nutrients into the bloodstream.
“Liquid I.V. is the brand and Hydration Multiplier is the headline product, but CTT is really what we are building the brand around,” Cohen said. He added that the company will be releasing clinical test results on the product early next year and is exploring using CTT for “other nutritional payloads,” the first of which is a sleep-aid product that will be launching later this year. “We have this unique platform to deliver nutrients rapidly and efficiently into your bloodstream,” he said.
The company has also added some star power to its management team with the addition of entertainment entrepreneur Scooter Braun, founder of media company SB Projects and manager to music artists including Justin Bieber, Kanye West and Ariana Grande. Braun invested in Liquid I.V. through his TQ Ventures group, which is also a backer of Bear’s Fruit Kombucha and cold-pressed watermelon juice brand WTRMLN WTR.
Braun also helped bring in Norwegian DJ/producer Kygo and his manager Myles Shear as investors. Cohen said the 26-year old artist reached out to Liquid I.V about funding the brand after being introduced to it while on tour, and will likely be integrated into future marketing and promotional efforts.
Cohen said Liquid I.V. will use the funds to support product R&D and to pursue a balanced approach to expanding distribution, which is currently evenly split between traditional retail and e-commerce. To drive trial, he noted that in-store sampling activations and displays will be supplemented with consumer education efforts via wellness influencers about dehydration.
“There’s a lot of the issues that people suffer on a day to day basis that the core cause of is dehydration,” Cohen said. “Water is great, just hard to drink enough of it.”