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Thursday, Jul 18, 2024

Drink Manufacturer Raises $70 Million


Liquid Death touts itself as a “funny water company.”

A Santa Monica-based drink manufacturer themed around its non-serious approach to business is inching ever closer to unicorn status, with its latest funding round closing on Oct. 3 with a $70 million raise.

In the company’s own words, Liquid Death Inc. is “just a funny water company who hates corporate marketing as much as you do,” with an “evil mission to make people laugh and get more of them to drink more water more often, all while helping to kill plastic pollution.”

But don’t let Liquid Death’s informal approach to marketing fool you: the canned water company is valued at $700 million following its latest funding round, just a few years out from its 2017 launch.

While Liquid Death itself has been relatively mum on the news, the company’s $70 million series D funding round is being touted by one of its biggest backers, the Santa Monica-based venture capital firm Science Inc. The firm’s co-founder J. Peter Pham wrote in an Oct. 3 blog post that it was “thrilled to share” the news, having led Liquid Death’s series C and series D seed rounds.

“Mike (Cessario, co-founder and CEO of Liquid Death) and his team have created a cultural zeitgeist with a loyal fan base through creative and comedic campaigns that rival SNL. They’ve leveraged social like no one else I’ve ever seen,” wrote Pham. “Liquid Death is number one most followed beverage brand on TikTok in the U.S., and their content has earned more than 21 billion media impressions in the past year with two times the engagement of Red Bull, who previously held the crown.”

According to Science Inc. research, Pham said, Liquid Death is the fastest-growing non-alcoholic beverage brand of all time, having outpaced rivals Monster Inc. (which took four years to reach Liquid Death’s current level of funding) and Celsius Inc. (which took 12 years.) Liquid Death’s beverages are now carried in 60,000 stores across the U.S., wrote Pham, compared to 16,000 as of October last year.

In an email to the Business Journal, a spokesperson for Liquid Death said that the company’s current expansion plans are focused on a move into the European market. The company did not provide specifics of its Santa Monica operations beyond noting they “are headquartered in Los Angeles and have remote employees all over the US.”

Pham noted that as of October this year, Liquid Death is the number one-selling still water brand on Amazon and placed second for sparkling water sales. Liquid Death is projecting $130 million in revenue for this year, according to Pham, up from $45 million last year.

The startup-focused Science Inc., which gained significantly off its status as the wildly successful Dollar Shave Club Inc.’s first investor back in 2012, has backed a number of young adult-facing brands, including the Culver City-based MeUndies Inc. and the bass fishing subscription box service MonsterBass Inc., based out of Studio City.

“Liquid Death is moving people toward healthier and sustainable drinking options, not by preaching to them, but by entertaining them and making them a part of something bigger in culture,” wrote Pham. “People are shifting their consumption habits away from unhealthy sodas, energy drinks and alcohol and cutting out plastic thanks to Liquid Death, while having more fun.”

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