Why We Led Air Up’s €40m Growth Round
Just over nine months ago, we wrote an article about why we invested in air up’s 18m round. Our investment thesis was based on backing the innovative new player that could become the leading beverage brand tackling the industry’s key issues: single use plastic and sugar. And here we are, less than a year later, putting our thoughts onto paper on why we led the €40m follow-on round.
Our Five Seasons fund was born with the investment thesis to prove that food startups can grow at the same pace as tech startups. Most investors would agree to use the term ‘hypergrowth’ associated to a (tech) company reaching €100m in revenues within 4 years from its start. Month after month since our first investment we have seen air up beating this tech benchmark for hypergrowth, reaching a €100m revenues run rate in half the time it has taken the best tech companies to do so.
In order to be able to grow at this speed, a company needs to have 1) a perfect product/market fit 2) a perfect timing to come to market 3) have a highly scalable production/distribution model and 4) have a determined management team that can actually manage under sustained pressure (what we sometimes refer to as “extended beast mode”). In addition to that, in most cases, to grow at this speed, a company needs a lot of capital to sustain the ramp up losses. It’s worth noting that air up managed to reach the €100m run rate mark with very little capital.
Our Fund is set to find future category leaders in Europe’s food tech sector and to help those entrepreneurs drive growth in the most efficient and responsible way. The team at air up has consistently shown the vision, ambition and execution capabilities required to be one. In such a short period of time they delivered exceptional traction in a market with clear consumer needs: more hydration, the end of single-use plastic bottles and reduction in consumption of unhealthy drinks. Air up sold their reusable bottles and flavored pods to over a million customers so far, which assumingly saved up to 85 millions of single-use plastic bottles and more than 2.465 tons of sugar along the way.
This latest capital raise will be used to open new international markets, and to make scent-based hydration the new normal. We are proud to back Jannis Koppitz, Tim Jäger, Fabian Schlang, Christian Hauth, Simon Nueesch, Lena Jüngst, Jenna Wichmann, Christian Demers and the rest of the (dream) team on their #thinknewdrinknew journey and looking forward to continue to support our future category leader achieving their goals.