Well, that didn’t take long.
A freshly raised $2.35 million investment round will be a turning point for Life Equals, taking its brand to the national stage, said Kyle FitzGerald, announcing the funding Thursday at Startland’s Startups to Watch in 2019 celebration.
Life Equals was selected as No. 7 on the list of Kansas City companies expected to make big news this year. Click here to see the full Startups to Watch in 2019 ranking.
“We’re really excited about the opportunity to bring in truly strategic capital to Kansas City,” said FitzGerald, co-founder of the Roeland Park-based brand that delivers Balance the Superfood Shot. “We’ve been able to tap into investors from Chicago and Detroit, all the way out to New York and bring some venture capital back here to Kansas City, and leverage this Midwestern network to do so much more.”
Life Equals’ experience proves that startups shouldn’t limit their equity expectations for Kansas City, he said, instead leveraging the area’s resources to make more difficult pitches on the road.
“We wanted to bring that [capital] back here and be really proud of being a Kansas City company,” said FitzGerald. “We put in a lot of hard work to get those pitches to the right people and that’s kind of a message that I would share with other startups at an earlier stage than us.”
“Just know that it takes a lot of contacts and a lot of pitches to get that capital and that’s totally normal and that’s what it takes to succeed,” he added.
With support from KC-area funds like KCRise and Mid-America Angels, as well as other Midwestern networks, the beverage brand gained an important backer in Delaware-based Dreampact Ventures, which oversubscribed the round and provided a key board member in Luis Edmond, former chief sales officer of Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest food and beverage company, he said.
“To be able to bring that level of deep experience into our deal is wildly exciting for potential growth,” said FitzGerald. “Luis is a new board member so [Dreampact Ventures] does work hand-in-hand with us on a monthly basis, and has been really critical to us getting our plan for expansion down and then being able to execute on them.”
Click here to read more about how Life Equals is shaking up the health industry.
Balance the Superfood Shot — now delivered in three blends: Foundation, Immunity, and the newly released Turmeric — is expected to be launching in Whole Foods’ Pacific Northwest sector in July, which includes Portland and Seattle, said FitzGerald.
Life Equals also is expected to pitch to Whole Foods this summer for the chance to break out on the retailer’s global platform, he said, noting a couple new blends are in the works for later in 2019.
With the Turmeric blend gaining popularity on Amazon, the beverage company still flows 60 percent of its total product to online stores, he added, with the shots manufactured in Lenexa, Kansas.
“[Life Equals] really is a homemade brand and we’re taking our product and shipping it literally to every state in the union,” said FitzGerald.