10/02/2022 – Beverages / waterdrop / Sustainability / Microdrink / Investment / Funding
waterdrop raises €60m in Series-B funding led by Temasek
Austrian hydration company waterdrop® has announced its Series-B funding of €60 million (US$70m). The investment round was led by Singapore-headquartered global investment firm Temasek, with participation from existing shareholders Bitburger Ventures and Founders Future. The capital will be used to further accelerate a global expansion as well as continuous R&D investment.
“Our approach to the water business is to develop ecological solutions to promote responsible consumption of tap water and avoid the out-dated idea of having to bottle and ship unsustainable and mostly unhealthy beverages. Tap water is a safe, economical and sustainable source of drinking water,” said Martin Murray, founder and CEO of waterdrop®. “Today, sustainability is not a privilege: it is a requirement! It’s encouraging to align with one of the world’s leading investment firms on our vision for a new revolutionary era in the beverage industry.”
waterdrop®’s solution is the microdrink – a compact sugar-free cube that dissolves in water and enriches it with natural fruits, plants and vitamins.
Dawn of the ‘microdrink’
Founded in 2016 in Vienna, Austria’s capital, waterdrop® has swiftly emerged as a pioneer in the innovative hydration market by creating an entirely new product category with its flagship line: the ‘microdrink’.
“With the public increasingly aware of the ecological impact of their water and drinks consumption, the industry must change,” the firm said in a statement. “Leading beverage companies are on a quest for healthier and cleaner alternatives. Sugar-based and artificially flavoured drinks – along with their massive CO2 footprint and excessive plastic usage – will probably soon become obsolete as new product categories such as ‘micro(drinks)’ together with a stronger tap water filtration industry will become the new standard.”
Confirming this trend, waterdrop® reached US$100 million of revenue in 2021.
From disruptor to global category leader
“We are very proud and excited to further support the revolutionary journey of waterdrop® in this growth stage,“ said Friedrich Droste from Bitburger Ventures. “Since our initial investment three years ago, waterdrop has developed from a highly disruptive concept to a global category leader with nine-digit sales volume, providing consumers with a highly innovative, convenient and comprehensive hydration portfolio.
“We are extremely confident that waterdrop’s products and services will change the way people drink water in the future, and significantly contribute to more planet-friendly and healthy consumption,” he continued. “We are delighted to have contributed significantly again to this financing round and particularly pleased to welcome one of the world’s leading investors Temasek to our international group of shareholders.”
A little cube packing a flavourful punch
Today, more than 500 billion plastic bottles are produced annually and it is estimated that, in Europe alone, more than 52 billion litres of water are bottled and transported every year. This equates to up to one million tons of plastic each year across the continent.
A microdrink – the little cube developed by waterdrop® – weighs less than 3g and can enrich up to about one litre of water depending on the consumer's taste profile. Compared to bottled drinks, microdrinks help reduce transport-related emissions (CO2) and plastic use. This shift in hydration habits represents a 98-per-cent reduction in CO2 emissions and plastic.
The Austrian company has also just entered the beverage tech industry with the release of LUCY®: the first smart cap capable of filtering water through an UV-C system. This fundraising announcement demonstrates that waterdrop’s vision of truly changing the fundamentals of the beverage industry is becoming a reality. waterdrop® previously received the support of notable investors including Alexandre Arnault, Founders Future, the venture arm of Bitburger, the Suzuki Family from Japan and French investor Pierre Kosciusko-Morizet amongst others.
“It’s time to embrace eco-responsible solutions”
“We want to make waterdrop® the leading global hydration brand and spread our core message – ‘Drink More Water’ – worldwide. Our DTC channels represent more than 70 per cent of our sales, and it’s probably one of our biggest strengths: we know our consumers extremely well, so we can meet their needs and expectations, and learn every day,” remarked Martin Murray, founder and CEO.
“We are growing strongly across Europe and just entered the USA mid last year. In the next few years we will pursue our expansion mainly in the USA and then via South-East Asia to China,” he continued. “We are proud to be an Austrian company, yet in the medium term we will have offices in the US, Paris, London, Brno and Singapore. We are already a plastic-positive company, and we aim to go much further in our efforts. It’s time to pull our act together and embrace eco-responsible solutions.”
Increasingly daring and anchored in its Austrian heritage, waterdrop® became in January 2022 the official hydration partner of the legendary Hahnenkamm races: one of the most challenging and spectacular Alpine ski races in the world.
J.P. Morgan AG was the sole placement agent for Waterdrop’s latest funding raise, which will help the firm pursue its vision “to become the world‘s leading hydration brand empowering all people to live healthier and more sustainable lives”.
Established in 2016, the company has already grown to more than one million online customers, and currently employs over 200 personnel. waterdrop is listed in more than 10,000 retail outlets and operates more than 20 own stores in Europe and in the USA. Its products are currently sold in Europe and in the USA.
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