The Coca-Cola Company has invested in US firm Iris Nova, the parent company of functional beverage brand Dirty Lemon.
Iris Nova has secured a total of $15 million through the seed funding round, securing the backing of several venture capital firms, including Greycroft and Imaginary Ventures.
The company utilizes a tech-enabled, SMS-based sales and communication platform that facilitates direct-to-consumer transactions.
Funding will allow the company to expand its portfolio of brands and further tech capabilities through its SMS-based distribution platform. Additionally, it will allocate a portion of funding to Iris Nova Ventures to invest in early-stage beverage brands.
Over the last three years, Iris Nova has built infrastructure to support direct sales of beverages at scale using a proprietary conversational commerce platform that allows customers to place orders and interact with the company via text message.
The first brand under the Iris Nova umbrella, Dirty Lemon, launched in 2015 as a direct-to-consumer beverage brand selling exclusively by text message. It has sold over 2 million bottles since 2015 and processed 90% of orders entirely via text message.
Iris Nova founder Zak Normandin said: “Iris Nova is driving innovation in an industry primed for disruption. Our data-driven approach challenges the status quo, bringing emerging beverage products to market faster. Most importantly, we’re prioritising genuine connection with our customers through a communication channel typically reserved for friends and family.”
Alan Patricof, managing director of Greycroft, said: “There are very few new businesses that truly have the potential to make a monumental shift in their industry – we believe Iris Nova is shaping the future of the CPG industry. The text-to-order platform that Iris Nova built is helping to shape the way consumers buy products and interact with brands.”
Natalie Massenet, founder of Imaginary Ventures, added: “Iris Nova is challenging the traditional model of beverage distribution by directly engaging with its customers. Zak and his team have proven success building distinct first-class, next generation brands based on evolving customer preference.”
Iris Nova said it is currently developing two additional non-alcoholic beverage concepts which will launch this year.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019