California-based prebiotic beverage maker Olipop has raised $10 million in a Series A funding round, the company announced today.
The round’s participants include current investors Monogram Capital Partners, Rocana Ventures, Finn Capital Partners, Boulder Food Group and Collaborative Fund, as well as first time investors Döhler Ventures and Terpsi Capital. The Series A follows a $2.5 million seed round which closed in January 2019.
“The timing of this Series A coincides with our completion of a foothold on the West Coast,” a company spokesperson told BevNET in an email. “We wanted to test out our ability to scale and know that we can, this year. The new funding will support that. We think that OLIPOP can become a leader in natural soda, as much as a leader in next generation digestive health.”
Founded in 2018 by president David Lester and CEO and head of formulation Ben Goodwin, Olipop produces a line of low sugar, prebiotic tonics which aims to provide a better-for-you alternative to CSDs in flavors like Strawberry Vanilla, Cinnamon Cola, Ginger Lemon and Classic Root Beer, the latter of which launched last month.
Much of the funding will go towards expanding Olipop’s sales and marketing team and growing its direct-to-consumer business. The company currently has 15 full time employees and recently announced three new additions, including former Ripple Foods finance lead Adam Beier as senior director of finance, former Health-Ade Kombucha sales director Scott Goldstein as senior director of sales and former Chameleon senior area sales manager Brad Bevens as district sales manager for the Pacific Northwest.
In2020, the brand is focusing on expanding its retail footprint on the East and West Coasts, projecting to be in over 1,800 doors by the summer, the spokesperson said. The brand has partnered with distributors including UNFI, KeHE and LA Distributing Co. and is available in retailers including Whole Foods, Erewhon, Bristol Farms, Lasens, Jimbo’s, Lazy Acres, QFC and Fred Meyer. Earlier this month, Olipop launched in Wegmans and the brand will roll out to Sprouts locations in May.
“In 2019 it was important for us to firmly establish our brand in the western half of the U.S.,” said David Lester in a press release. “We wanted to ensure OLIPOP fit well in the marketplace. We wanted to test our growth drivers and supply chain before expanding the beverage nationally. We were fortunate enough to be able to turn down potential distribution opportunities and still grow the business significantly. Now we’re in a position to start sprinting.”
Part of the funding will also go toward product innovation. The company intends to launch two new flavors later this year, which will “draw upon the same nostalgic taste inspirations” as the root beer variety, according to the spokesperson.