Naturally sugar-free beverage brand Nexba has broken the record for Australia's largest non-tech crowd-funding raise in its Series A Round. Through crowd-funding platform VentureCrowd, Nexba raised almost $1.5 million of the total $6 million raised.
VentureCrowd co-founder Steve Maarbani says they were very impressed with the level of interest and calibre of investors. The mix of business leaders to “ordinary” everyday investors showed the “resonance Nexba has with the market and reinforces growing consumer demand for better-for-you food and beverage products,” Maarbani says.
The remaining $4.5 million came from private investors including: former David Jones CEO and managing director Paul Zahra; former CBA executive and now CEO of Porter Davis Adrian Hondros; Farage founder Joe Farage; and Budburst Capital director John Bacon.
Nexba’s impressive growth
Nexba’s revenue grew 148 per cent in FY18 after it launched new functional product ranges such as kombucha and probiotic water. The number of households buying Nexba products has grown by 202 per cent to 460,000.
Nexba co-founder and global CEO Troy Douglas says the company is on track to achieve another year of doubling gross revenues in FY19.
The financing will also support Nexba’s global expansion plans, Douglas says, with a key focus on the UK. Last year the company signed a partnership with retailer Sainsbury’s as part of its ‘Future Brands’ initiative. The partnership has seen Nexba products rolled out to large-format stores nationwide.
“Our launch into the UK late last year was a huge step forward on our mission to become the fastest growing naturally sugar free brand. Nexba has transitioned from start up to scale up, the UK is about proving global scalability of what is the future of food and beverage being great tasting no sugar and nothing artificial alternatives. We forecast continued acceleration in the years to come as we hit other large markets such as the US,” Douglas says.
Earlier this year Food & Drink Business reported on Gaingels, the world-first investment vehicle for LGBT founders and execs, investing in Nexba. 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.
Douglas said they would “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".
Co-founder Drew Bilbe added that the company’s success was because they had stayed true to their “core purpose of combating the health risks caused by both sugar-laden and artificially-sweetened drinks, whilst never compromising on taste”. He said Nexba was the first to market in Australia and it would continue to innovate with retail partners.