In episode seven of Vested Interest, three food and beverage brands compete to win a private call with investors.
Throughout the episode they each pitch their business, spend 10-15 minutes answering questions, and finally the winner gets chosen to have a chance to secure funds.
The replay is available now. If you don’t want to wait until the end of the video, scroll down to the bottom of the article to find out which brand won the private call!
Would you like the opportunity to secure funds and valuable exposure for your brand? Then apply to be on Vested Interest here.
The Panel of Investors
Nik Sharma: Widely known as “The DTC Guy” on the internet, Forbes 30 Under 30 member, and CEO of Sharma Brands, Nik is a DTC investor, advisor, and operator who has both assisted and led revenue growth at multiple organizations.
Nitasha Mehta: Nitasha Mehta is an experienced digital marketer with over 15 years of expertise in e-commerce, product marketing, CRM, and shopper marketing. She has previously held roles at Amazon and Samsung, and she now heads CPG Brand Partnerships at Boxed, working directly with over 55 CPG's.
Alex Malamatinas: Alex is the Founder and Managing Partner of Melitas Ventures, a New York based fund that partners with innovative early-stage food & beverage companies. He serves on the boards of Kin Euphorics, RIND Snacks, Nurture Life, NomNom, Verb Energy, Beekeeper's Naturals, and MUD WTR.
Who are the Three Competing Brands?
First up, we had Realm pitched by Elise Tresley and Lauren Benbassat.
Realm wanted to tackle a pressing problem facing women who live an active lifestyle but want to stay healthy: the lack of available functional foods that are both convenient and taste good. They stepped in and produced a plant-based smoothie blend made with real fruits, vegetables and plant protein. They don’t add any preservatives, added sugar, dairy, soy and the product has a good shelf-life. They’re also delivered in convenient packets, which can be made in 15 seconds by mixing with milk or water for an instant smoothie. You can choose between options like Berry Fresh, Bold Cacao and Tropical Greens. With the help of funds, they want to scale their team, create new product lines, expand into different channels and grow an affiliate database of dieticians and experts.
Key Investor Questions:
- Alex: Beyond taste, what are the key functional benefits that consumers want when they consume your products?
- Nik: What are your acquisition costs?
- Nitasha: Can you talk about your long-term distribution strategy?
Second up, we had LION Dandelion Tea pitched by Ray DeRosa.
LION Dandelion Tea is a brand that sells a line of dandelion teas. They are made of recyclable glass and paper and are currently available in six flavors. The teas are made with the dandelion root, dandelion leaf and dandelion flower, with added all-natural fruits and herbs for flavor. Towards the end of 2019, they got their first big retail partner The Fresh Market and launched into all 170 of their stores. At the onset of the pandemic, LION Dandelion Tea pivoted to D2C since they had experienced hyper-growth. To gain higher profitability they are now transitioning all of their products from glass into D2C friendly packaging, which is cans. They want to launch more products and scale their D2C channel.
Key Investor Questions:
- Alex: How have you been able to demonstrate that LION Dandelion Tea has higher functionality than some of the other brands in the prebiotic market?
- Nik: What are your profit margins for DTC with shipping included?
- Nitasha: What is the timeframe for transiting your products from bottles to cans?
Third up, we had Siren Snacks pitched by Elizabeth Giannuzzi.
Siren Snacks has re-imagined the protein bar and created a product line of bite-sized and plant-based snacks for on-the-go consumers. The snacks bring portability, clean ingredients, transparency and nourishment to their customers with every bite. Siren Snacks has a fun modern messaging that targets a younger female demographic, those who have been left out of the typical protein bar category. Their brand has evolved into 4 functional categories, plant protein, organic energy, rest and relaxation bites, and finally keto-friendly. This year saw Siren Snacks launch in Target and CVS and they have plans to create a pop-up snack bar in 2021.
Key Investor Questions:
- Alex: How much sugar is in your products and are you using any sweeteners?
- Nik: How many packets do people normally buy online and what are your margins?
- Nitasha: How much do your subscriptions account for your online sales?
Congratulations to Realm for winning Episode 7 of Vested Interest!
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