Lemon water brand gets celebrity investment18 Aug 2020
Cold-pressed lemon water beverage, Lemon Perfect, closed a $6.6 million funding round led by Beechwood Capital, The Big Squeeze, Goat Rodeo Capital, LivWell Ventures, Melitas Ventures, R3 Venture Partners, the RCV Frontline Fund, the Stage 1 Fund, and Skyview Capital.
A roster of celebrities also invested, including NBA stars Nick "Swaggy P" Young, Blake Griffin, Kyle Kuzma, Spencer Dinwiddie and ESPN's Jordan Schultz. The former COO of Bai Brands Barak Bar-Cohen also participated in the investment round.
The lemon drink is made with half a lemon in each bottle and zero sugar to create a “lemonade-like flavor.” Additionally, the brand aligns itself with the better-for-you market by highlighting its nutritional profile that emphasizes hydrating electrolytes and essential antioxidants along with an organic and non-GMO certification status. Lemon Perfect was launched in 2017 and is available on Amazon.com and in around 3,000 stores nationwide.
Celebrity investment in the better-for-you space has been heating up. From Justin Timberlake investing in Bai Brands to Woody Harrelson financially supporting plant-based seafood company Good Catch, the CPG space has become an area where well-known figures are doing more than just endorsing brands in advertising.
Whereas it was once sufficient to have stars consuming beverages to earn brand sponsorships, now brands are looking to be sponsored by these stars. But hooking a celebrity investor is about more than just the money. Having a familiar face taking a monetary stake in a brand can lend legitimacy and bring attention to a product that might have otherwise remained under the radar. Plus, once these figures have a personal stake in a brand, they also have an interest in watching it grow and are, therefore, likely to promote it, which can lead to creative collaborations that can last.
A better-for-you water brand is not a surprising target for investment by sports stars. After water became the most popular beverage in the U.S. in 2016, the number of products peddling hydration with H2O has multiplied. The proliferation of functional water products has been impressive and ranged from sparkling CBD-infused drinks like CarryOn from Ocean Spray’s incubator to vitamin and protein-infused Karma Wellness Water. However, the category has become so popular that major companies are taking a stake in the space. Beer conglomerate Constellation Brands took a minority stake in Karma Wellness Water in 2019 and Coca-Cola launched its functional, mineral-infused sports drink water Aquarius in the U.K. last year.
Much like big name brands are looking to expand their footprint in the functional water space, Lemon Perfect is looking to do the same. Its new funds will be put toward increasing marketing, distribution and recruiting talent. Already between February and July of this year, the brand has seen an 809% increase in sales, secured partnerships with five major DSD distributors, and placed its product in over 3,000 new retailer doors nationwide.
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