Gaingels, the world-first investment vehicle for LGBT founders and execs, has invested in Australian naturally sugar free beverage company Nexba.
The Gaingels investment forms part of a $6 million Series A capital raise for Nexba, whose co-founder Troy Douglas is a proud gay entrepreneur and business leader.
This is the first Australian investment for the Gaingels group, which currently operates in US, Canadian and British markets, and the news comes on the eve of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras which kicks off tomorrow.
With LGBT founders shown to face discrimination and are less likely to receive funding, Gaingels was formed to actively advocate for leadership diversity. According to a survey by Credit Suisse, 37 per cent of founders were not "out" to investors and 12 per cent thought being "out" would hurt them.
Nexba says it has had a record year of growth, with a 148 per cent increase in year-on-year gross sales. The company recently launched into the UK market with a major deal with supermarket Sainsbury's, and recent product launches include tonic waters and functional offerings such as kombucha and probiotic waters.
Nexba's Series A funding will be used to accelerate Australian growth and support global expansion plans.
“I’m honoured that Nexba is Gaingels’ first Aussie investment. As an openly gay founder in a family-first business, I’m aware of how fortunate I’ve been to have the support of my business partner and brother-in-law Drew Bilbe,” Douglas, the company's global CEO, said.
“That said, I will always be thankful to groups like Gaingels who lead the way by encouraging each of us to feel safe and proud of who we are. Capital raising is an intense experience, but it has transitioned Nexba from being a start-up to a scale-up.
“As custodians of our Nexba Legends (our shareholders), we are energised to continue reinventing high sugar and artificial categories... I’m more excited than ever to put our Australian Naturally Sugar Free innovation on the global stage.”
Gaingels co-founder Paul Grossinger said, “We’re proud that Nexba is going to be our first Australian venture. We believe in the company’s leadership, and that its brand and proprietary product range will continue to translate in Australia and beyond.
“Gaingels backs companies with LGBT leadership, such as Troy and Nexba, because we believe that diverse leadership correlates with stronger culture, better opportunities for more LGBT senior leadership at the company and, ultimately, stronger performance.
"We look forward to helping Nexba scale toward its ultimate potential.”