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Hydrates, intoxicates, caffeine, repeats: Meet the startups that pour the future

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T Nowadays, it seems that everyone with extra money has a kind of habit of drinking expensive. It could be good wine, craft beer or cocktails. Or it could come in the form of coconut water, cold pressed juice or the latest frothy caffeine concoction.

Whatever your preferences, startups and their supporters have probably covered you.

As an extension of our story earlier this month about food startups that are gobbling up venture capital funds, Crunchbase News is looking at the capital of beverage companies. We found that while alcoholic beverages receive a smaller portion of the funding than edible, it is still an industry that attracts hundreds of millions of dollars in annual investments.

Where do investors pour all this money? Some unlikely places. For example, it seems that the biggest funding recipient up here this year is a China-based chain called Hey Tea that is well known for a specialty called cheese tea. (A slightly salty frozen drink, named by the Crunchbase News team, was rather tasty.)

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In addition to cheese tea, we discovered that startups are also raising millions to bottle the ocean water, customize instant coffee and make the punch of your group more portable.

Bottom line: As long as there are profit margins to extract, the quest continues for new ways to get drunk, hydrated or caffeinated. Below we look at what is happening on all these fronts.


Venture capitalists and start-up entrepreneurs are betting that there are highly scalable companies to build by distributing more exotic varieties of water, coconut-based drinks and more. Other drinks to hydrate calorie conscious consumers.

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An analysis of Crunchbase data uncovered at least a dozen companies developing new varieties of water and fitness drinks that have raised funds in recent quarters .

Financing data reveal that investors still perceive the potential for significant yield of coconut water. The biggest tour in the category of hydration went to Harmless Harvest, a fair trade salesman, organic coconut water and probiotic drinks that recently raised $ 30 million. The funding comes as the sector is in crisis, with US spending on coconut water expected to reach $ 2 billion next year.

We have also seen some offers involving startups offering alternatives to bottled water or taps. FloWater, a Denver-based start-up that provides pure water charging stations, has raised about $ 8 million so far. Meanwhile, the bottled water is still attracting attention, as evidenced by the $ 5.5 million round of financing late last year for Kona Deep, a bottler of water. 39, deep water.

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You may need water to survive, but if you are looking for venture capital, it will help you get rid of alcohol.

Since last year, venture capitalists have paid more than $ 300 million to an assortment of companies providing alcoholic beverages, drinking gadgets and services to connect consumers with drugs. 39; alcohol. Crunchbase News has highlighted a dozen topics that have raised large-scale series, as well as a start-up hangover.

Some of the biggest shootings are for companies that do not make alcohol; Instead, these startups offer easier ways to select and buy. These include Vivino, a popular app for wine appraisal, as well as Drizly and Saucey, both ordering and delivery services.

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There are also emerging brands in the mix, including BeatBox Beverages, a supplier of punch in portable packages; Milestone Brands, a producer of organic tequilas and other spirits; and Prune, who has a gadget to distribute good wine by the glass.


If drinking too much makes you sleepy, let the caffeine come to the rescue. Venture capitalists, who are known to be heavy consumers of caffeine, also seem to like investing in this kind of thing.

Using Crunchbase data, we have highlighted more than a dozen companies in the coffee and tea industry that have secured good quality tours. during the last year. They range from fast-growing chains, like China's Hey Tea, to packaged drinks, such as Willow Cup, a maker of non-dairy beverages, and instant beverage innovators like Sudden Coffee. We even found a blockchain company in the mix, Crypto N Kafe, which aims to directly connect coffee growers and consumers.

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This is not a bad place for outings either. The last significant outflow was Blue Bottle Coffee, a brand backed by venture capital known for its really strong beers that sold a majority stake to Nestle last September for a value of more than $ 700 million.


Another category of beverages in which we found a high level of activity was that of alternative drinks and nutrition. Overall, we have found at least half a dozen companies developing nutritional drinks that have received funding in recent quarters.

In this sector, the name of the most well-known start-up is probably Soylent, which has raised more than $ 70 million for a range of beverages sold to consumers who do not have the time or money. want to sit down for a traditional meal. We also found a potential competitor, the Ample Meal Replacement Beverage Manufacturer, which received angel funding last month.

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The biggest turn of the last two months for space, however, went to REBBL, a startup that raised $ 20 million in May for its range of bottled beverages containing herbs, protein and coconut.

Mixed all: caffeinated, full and buzzed

Investments in beverages, like everything else, are not always a home run for VCs. The disappearance of Juicero startup startups last year offers a warning that big series do not always translate into compelling business models.

That said, beverage suppliers do not have to worry a lot about the drying up of the application. People will always be thirsty. And although we can quench our thirst with tap water or filtered water, where is the pleasure (or the massive output potential)?

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Our analysis focused on companies that received funding in the last year. however, we also included some cycles outside of these settings that were unusually large or remarkable by other means.