Archive for June, 2018

Hydrate, intoxicate, caffeinate, repeat: Meet the startups pouring the future

Joanna Glasner Contributor More posts by this contributor VCs serve up a large helping of cash to startups disrupting food US startups off to a strong M&A run in 2018 These days, it seems like everyone with extra cash has some kind of pricey drinking habit. It might be fine wine, craft beer or cocktails. Or it could come in the form of coconut water, cold-pressed juice or the latest frothy caffeinated concoction. No matter what your preference, startups and their backers likely have you covered. In a follow-up to our story earlier this month about food startups gobbling up venture funding, Crunchbase News is taking a look at beverage companies guzzling capital. We found that while drinkables receive a smaller portion of funding than edibles, it’s still a sector that draws hundreds of millions of dollars in annual investment. Where are investors pouring all that money? Some unlikely places. For instance, it appears the largest funding recipient so far this year is a China-based chain called Hey Tea that’s well known for a specialty called cheese tea. (An unfortunately named, slightly salty iced drink that a Crunchbase News team sampling determined was actually pretty tasty.) Besides cheese tea, we found startups are also raising millions to bottle deep ocean water, customize instant coffee and make your party punch more portable. Bottom line: So long as there are profit margins to squeeze out, the quest continues for new ways to get you drunk, hydrated or caffeinated. Below, we look at what’s trending on all these fronts. Hydrate Venture investors and startup entrepreneurs are betting there are highly scalable businesses to be built in doling out more exotic varieties of water, coconut-based beverages and other drinks to hydrate calorie-conscious consumers. An analysis of Crunchbase data unearthed at least a dozen companies developing new varieties of water and fitness drinks that have raised funding in recent quarters. Funding data reveals that investors still see the potential for significant returns from coconut water. The largest round in the hydration category went to Harmless Harvest, a seller of fair trade, organic coconut water and probiotic drinks that recently raised $30 million. The funding comes as the sector is on a tear, with the U.S. spending alone on coconut water projected to reach $2 billion next year. We also saw a couple of deals involving startups offering alternatives to bottled or tap water. The most heavily capitalized one to receive funding in the past couple of years appears to be FloWater, a Denver-based startup that provides pure water refill stations and has raised about $8 million to date. Meanwhile, bottled water is still generating attention, too, as evidenced by the $5.5 million round late last year for Kona Deep, a bottler of deep ocean water. Intoxicate You may need water to survive, but if you’re looking to secure venture capital, it helps to throw in a bit of alcohol. Since last year, venture investors have poured more than $300 million into an assortment of companies providing alcoholic beverages, drinking gadgetry and services to connect consumers with booze. Crunchbase News highlighted about […]

Announcing TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield Latin America in São Paulo on Nov. 8

TechCrunch is excited to announce that the Startup Battlefield Latin America is coming to São Paulo on November 8 this year. This is the first event TechCrunch has ever held in Latin America, and we are all in to make it a memorable one to support the fast-emerging startup ecosystem in the region. The Startup Battlefield is TechCrunch’s premier startup competition, which over the past 12 years has placed 750 companies on stage to pitch top VCs and TechCrunch editors. Those founders have gone on to raise more than $8 billion and produce more than 100 exits. Startup Battlefield Latin America aims to add 15 great founders from Latin America to those elite ranks. Here’s how the competition works. Founders may apply now to participate in Startup Battlefield. Any early stage (pre-A round) company with a working product headquartered in an eligible Latin American country (see list below) may apply. Applications close August 6. TechCrunch editors will review the applications and, based on which applicants have the strongest potential for a big exit of major societal impact, pick 15 to compete on November 8. TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield team will work intensively with each founding team to hone their six-minute pitch to perfection. Then it’s game day. The 15 companies will take the stage at São Paulo’s Tomie Ohtake Institute in front of a live audience of 500 people to pitch top-tier VC judges. The judges and TechCrunch editors will pick five for a finals round. Those lucky finalists will face a fresh team of judges, and one will emerge as the winner of the first-ever Startup Battlefield Latin America. The winner takes home $25,000 and a trip for two to the next Disrupt, where they can exhibit free of charge in the Startup Alley and may also qualify to participate in the Startup Battlefield at Disrupt. Sweet deal. All Startup Battlefield sessions will be captured on video and posted on TechCrunch.com. It’s an experience no founder would want to miss, considering the opportunity to join the ranks of Battlefield greats from years past, including Dropbox, Yammer, Mint, Getaround, CloudFlare, Vurb and many more. Get that application started now. Here’s the need-to-know about qualifying to apply: Have an early-stage company in “launch” stage Headquartered in one of these countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela (Central America) Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Panama (Caribbean – including dependencies and constituent entities), Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. Have a fully working product/beta reasonably close to, or in, production Have received limited press or publicity to date Have no known intellectual property conflicts Apply by Aug. 6, 2018, at 5 p.m. PST Tickets to attend Startup Battlefield Latin America will go on sale soon. Interested in sponsoring the event, contact us here