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Athletic Greens hits unicorn status with vision to be next Gatorade

Back within the Eighties and ’90s, Gatorade used “Be Like Mike” and a ubiquitous presence on the sidelines of seemingly each athletic contest in existence to transcend being a sports activities drink whereas nonetheless retaining that halo of well being. In the 2000s, Red Bull used a heavy mix of action sports, arts, and music content to get away of the skatepark and snowboarding area and into nightclubs and late-night coding classes.

Over the final decade-plus, the dietary complement beverage firm Athletic Greens has been quietly amassing a crew of entrepreneurs, athletes, and influencers who swear by its AG1 greens powder as a liquid multivitamin/probiotic/prebiotic/practical greens mix/immune assist complicated, and extra. Today, with the corporate’s announcement of $115 million in funding led by Alpha Wave Ventures that drives Athletic Greens’s valuation above $1 billion, it’s prepared to put that cash to work increasing its base past excessive achievers who relentlessly strive new issues to “literally everyone in the world who has an internet connection and who wants to have a happy, healthy life and can afford us,” as Athletic Greens founder and CEO Chris Ashenden places it.

“If I look at the trends in play right now, we have a fundamental, generational shift of people wanting to have more ownership over their health, a desire to have control of that journey,” Ashenden says. “We see a world where people wake up, brush their teeth, have a coffee, and take AG1—that cultural phenomenal idea of this becoming something you do everyday. It’s in the early stage of acceleration. The new funding is to help continue to drive that.”

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Founded in 2010 in New Zealand, Athletic Greens initially constructed a cult following amongst athletes and the wellness crowd for its one and solely product, a powdered beverage that mixes greater than 9 important diet merchandise into one. Over the previous decade that one product has gone by means of 52 iterations, with work on the 53rd ongoing. Ashenden has largely bootstrapped the corporate to $150 million in income; it grew 250% from 2019 to 2020, and 360% from 2020 to 2021.

“The funding allows us to really lean into that growth and the value that is there, continue to drive innovation and value back to our customers, and we’ve had a lot of things cooking in the kitchen that we’ll now accelerate and take this brand global,” says Ashenden, who’s achieved all of this primarily by means of phrase of mouth.

Last yr, the model shifted its strategy to entice extra feminine clients, with the seemingly easy steps of adjusting the title to AG1 and including extra pictures of energetic ladies to its web site and different supplies, which led to ladies being 45% of latest clients. In July, it announced its first outside funding round, led by SC.Holdings; particular person movie star buyers embrace Hugh Jackman, Cindy Crawford, Tim Ferriss, Formula 1 star Lewis Hamilton, and Peloton’s Robin Arzón. In late 2021, it introduced on Kat Cole as president and COO, a place she just lately held at Focus Brands, the mother or father firm of Cinnabon, Auntie Anne’s, and Jamba.

Cole says this new funding will assist the corporate increase its R&D funding and world operations, in addition to discover strategic retail alternatives and do extra vital model advertising and marketing. “Our challenge is not only to do these things but also not to fuck up what’s been working so well so far,” she says. “It’s an unbelievably effective product that has a radically high degree of trust with customers. It’s not lost on me the responsibility to protect that, while doing more storytelling, talking about the brand, and expanding the geographies, products, and channels.”

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The ambition is excessive, however Cole additionally sees the necessity for persistence and pacing, likening the perfect strategy to that of one of many firm’s current buyers. “This is not a ‘let’s just hit the gas’ situation,” Cole says. “I’m looking for Lewis Hamilton levels of speed and grace. If our approach to building this company could be an athlete, it would be him. Grace. Purpose. Power. Speed. We have to hold all of those things at one time to be this generation’s cool beverage that is actually functional and healthy.”

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