Weller Raises $3M in Series Seed Round

CBD-infused snack and beverage maker Weller has raised $3 million in a funding round led by Brand Foundry Ventures, the company announced Friday. As part of the raise, Brand Foundry founder and general partner Andrew Mitchell will gain a seat on Weller’s board of directors.

In addition to Brand Foundry, the round also included institutional investments from LivWell Ventures, Great Oak Ventures, CanopyBoulder, 7Thirty Capital, as well as personal investments from Justin’s founder Justin Gold and Presence Marketing CEO Bill Weiland.

Speaking with BevNET, Weller co-founder John Simmons said the round will help fund the Colorado-based brand’s sales and marketing, including scaling production to meet its rising distribution. Weller previously raised $1.25 million in a seed round in early 2018.

“We love that these new partners came on and have the resources they do,” Simmons told BevNET. “LivWell Ventures in particular has a beverage portfolio, a tremendous amount of operational expertise and a tremendous amount of learnings and portfolio advice that we can get from their stakeholders with the other brands.”

Founded in 2017 as a maker of CBD-infused Coconut Bites snacks, Weller expanded into the beverage cooler last year, launching a line of CBD-enhanced sparkling waters. Each 12 oz. can contains 25 mg of full spectrum CBD.

Currently, Weller is focused on going deep within the Los Angeles market. Last month the company partnered with distributor L.A. Distributing and sales management firm Critical Mass Group. The brand is currently available in more than 1,000 stores in 25 states, including natural and convenience channel retailers such as Wegmans, Lucky’s, Sprouts, Fairway Markets, and Lassen’s.

According to Simmons, Weller is equally focused on growing its food and beverage products and the funding round will help support both lines. He said that the strong performance to date for its sparkling water line “is creating a halo effect on the snacks,” driving brand awareness and an increase in velocities for the Coconut Bites.

Although most of the company’s DSD distributors are carrying both lines, he added, there does remain “a huge emphasis on beverage.” Simmons noted that the sparkling water has proven to be a strong driver for trial and repeat purchase.

“What we’re seeing right now is that, in the early days of this nascent CBD beverage category, there’s already some tremendous differentiation [between food and beverage],” Simmons said. “There’s some really top tier brands supported with executives and resources in the category, but what we’re seeing is really indicative of what we think is going to be the largest part of the CBD category and that’s the beverage part. The velocities, the formats, the usage routines are all lining up for beverage to be the largest part of the category.”