Nutpods Secures Investment From VMG Partners

Non-dairy creamer brand Nutpods has closed a round of fundraising with VMG Partners for an undisclosed amount, the company told BevNET last week.

Launched through a crowdfunding campaign in 2015, Nutpods markets a line of dairy-free almond and coconut-based creamers. The products are sold online and at select retailers in the natural and specialty retail channels.

Nutpods marks the third recent investment in ready-to-drink beverage for VMG, following previous funding for Spindrift and Humm Kombucha.

CircleUp Growth Partners, which made an initial investment in Nutpods in December 2016, also participated in this round of funding, along with previous investor Sidekick Fund.

Speaking with BevNET, Nutpods founder and CEO Madeline Haydon cited VMG’s advocacy of women and women-founded businesses as a contributing factor to working with the equity group, as well as its understanding and embrace of commerce.

“In taking a look at the opportunity in the market, we decided to let go of the bootstrapping days and be able to really get a great partner behind us that is not only willing to guide our brand to the next phase of growth, but also to see how I want to grow nutpods and who wants to go along that path with me,” she said.

VMG managing director Wayne Wu told BevNET the decision to partner with Nutpods was driven primarily by the strong relationship he and other partners forged with Haydon over a number of years.

“We like the highly focused strategy around trying to be the largest player in non-dairy coffee creamers,” he said. “We are here to help [Madeline] look ahead and think about what the business will look like as it continues to grow.”

The investment comes at an important juncture for Nutpods: having focused on product development — including expanding into refrigerated products, introducing a fourth flavor (Caramel) to its core lineup and adding placement in 15,000 new retailers — Haydon said the brand will now look to invest in brand awareness through digital marketing, something it hasn’t done previously.

“We really believe that the way that traditional companies have gone to market before doesn’t work for our brand — maybe for others, but not for ours,” she said.

Haydon said moving forward she plans to focus on Nutpods’ core competencies of “marketing and selling our brand” in the digital space, rather than investing in its own manufacturing facility or pursuing TV or billboard advertisements.

Despite the desire to grow, Haydon said she was under no pressure to raise money; the company grew 250% over the past year, she said.

“It took me many years to let go of the need to validate our brand by raising money,” she said. “For the early years as an entrepreneur, you hear about brands that have raised millions with various groups and you yearn for the validation. It’s a lot more rare to build a business with healthy gross margins, that’s growing within the means of capitalization.”