Vermont Business Magazine FreshTracks Capital announced Monday it has invested in a growing Vermont-based beverage brand, DRINKmaple. This is the second Vermont-based investment from FreshTracks Capital’s newly launched investment fund, FreshTracks IV. DRINKmaple, based in St Albans, is a rapidly-growing maple water brand that features only one ingredient, straight from the tree. It’s refreshing, hydrating and naturally nutritious, with just a subtle hint of maple. DRINKmaple is packed with 46 naturally-occurring nutrients including antioxidants, polyphenols, minerals and electrolytes, with more manganese than a cup of kale, and half the sugar of coconut water. The company also makes DRINKmelon Organic Watermelon Water, also made from one ingredient, 100% organic watermelons.
DRINKmaple is the brainchild of Ironman Triathlon training partners Kate Weiler and Jeff Rose, who found the beverage while competing in an Ironman in 2013. At first sip and after experiencing the hydrating benefits firsthand, they set out to bottle maple sap as a natural hydration beverage to fuel their athletic performance. The brand rapidly gained a cult following among competitive athletes, and is now expanding distribution to satisfy demand across the country.
Investors quickly saw potential in this “better for you” beverage brand based on its broad consumer appeal and increasing sales velocity. Where it is distributed, it already outsells national coconut water brands, attracting the attention of major beverage industry players. As a result, Weiler and Rose decided to raise investment capital to help them scale quickly to meet the opportunity. FreshTracks Capital, along with several other investors, participated in DRINKmaple’s Series A round of financing, with FreshTracks investing $250,000 of a total $4.35 million to help fuel the young company’s growth and gain national recognition.
TJ Whalen, Managing Director for FreshTracks Capital, said, “I think DRINKmaple is poised to become a national player. This product hits on all the right trends driving growth in the beverage industry. The brand has tremendous potential, and I believe Kate and Jeff have exactly what it takes to turn this local Vermont business into a national success story.”
Kate Weiler, CEO of DRINKmaple said of the company’s rapid growth, “It’s so exciting to have this opportunity to satisfy the nation’s thirst for healthful beverages. As a nutritionist and athlete, I wanted to create something that offered the right balance of functional performance, hydration and great taste. And I found the best all-natural ingredient for this right here in Vermont’s maple trees. I love that it’s natural, plant-based hydration from a local, sustainable source. And now I’m thrilled to work with FreshTracks Capital and our other investors to continue to expand our national footprint.”
About FreshTracks Capital: Founded in 2001, FreshTracks Capital is a Vermont-focused investment fund that uses venture capital to create positive economic and community impacts. Across its four funds, which total more than $45 million, FreshTracks has invested in over 20 Vermont-based companies. FreshTracks hosts a number of events for entrepreneurs and investors, including Peak Pitch and Road Pitch. The firm’s General Partners and Managing Directors are Cairn Cross, Lee Bouyea and T.J. Whalen. FreshTracks is actively investing out of its newly launched fund, FreshTracks Capital IV.
About DRINKmaple: At DRINKmaple, we're on a mission to innovate in the beverage space by creating healthful hydration for the broader consumer. We are makers of DRINKmaple Organic Maple Water, a premium plant-based hydration beverage consisting of the sap tapped directly from sugar maple trees in Vermont, and DRINKmelon Organic Watermelon Water, a plant-based, single-ingredient functional beverage made from 100% organic watermelons. Learn more at www.drinkmaple.com.
Shelburne and St. Albans, VT (May 8, 2017) – FreshTracks Capital