Plant-based Cure Hydration raises $2.6 million, plans expansion18 Dec 2020
Functional hydration brand Cure Hydration announced it closed a $2.6 million seed funding round led by led by Lerer Hippeau with additional participation from M3 Ventures, Litani Ventures, Andy Roddick, Nas, Matthew Dellavedova, Philip Krim, co-founder & CEO of Casper and Nick Green, CEO of Thrive Market. The new capital will be used to scale the team, build customer awareness in the market, and develop new functions and flavors.
In addition to the expansion of this hydration brand, Cure Hydration is expanding to 4,200 retail stores nationwide as well as adding Ruby Riot Grapefruit and Laser Focus Matcha flavors to its lineup that already includes Wild Thing, Main Squeeze and Golden Hour. Each serving of the beverage comes in individual packets of powdered formulation that consumers mix with water.
Bottling health has become a popular approach for consumers looking to get more out of a drink than just quench their thirst. With startup brands like Oxigen, PepsiCo’s Driftwell and Keurig Dr Pepper’s Core Nutrition brand, Cure Hydration is competing in a crowded space and is looking to stand out with its plant-based formulations that have no added sugar and four times the electrolytes of leading sports drinks. Despite the intense competition, Cure Hydration is tapping into consumer demand for holistic wellness, personalization, functionality and experience, traits that Imbibe, a beverage development company, predicted would define beverages launched in 2020.
While only time will tell whether the company will gain traction in the market and be a top player, functional beverages are a good bet for larger food and beverage companies looking for bottom-line growth.
A Kerry study from 2019 showed that 65% of consumers seek functional benefits from their food and drink with ingredients like omega-3s, green tea, honey, coffee and probiotics being the most sought after. This continued demand for functional attributes in food and drinks will drive the global functional ingredients market from $64.9 million in 2018 to nearly $100 million by 2025, per Zion Market Research.
But Big Food is not the only party interested in functional beverages. VC firms are also eyeing the space and have been putting more money toward companies developing these solutions. In 2018, VCs put more than $170 million toward functional beverage companies, a significant increase from the $111 million they invested in 2017, according to Pitchbook data.
The funds acquired by Cure Hydration in this latest funding round are a vote of confidence from investors signaling that the company’s claims of being “proven to hydrate as effectively as an IV drip” and “provid[ing] your body with everything it needs for optimal hydration,” have some credence. Plus, having celebrities sign on to the funding round – particularly athletes like Andy Roddick – will offer some legitimacy and notoriety to the brand as it looks to take off in the functional beverage space.
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