The Weeknd, Kevin Hart, & Chris Paul Bet Big on Plant-Based Protein Drink
Vegan beverage drink maker Koia just announced an all-star cast of celebrity investors who will help promote its signature plant-based protein drinks. Kevin Hart, Chris Paul, and The Weeknd all announced their new association with Koia, along with more than a dozen other cultural icons, ranging from musicians to sports stars to entertainment names. Along with the celebrity investors, funding from several investment firms came into the round, to give Koia what it needs to accelerate its national expansion.
By signing on celebrities as brand ambassadors, Koia hopes to bring its drinks into the mainstream, to show fans of the stars that they too should try the protein-rich drinks. Athlete investors include MLB Baseball Player Josh Bell, NHL Hockey Player Ryan O’Reilly, and NFL star Kyler Murray. The brand also enlisted several young music stars such as NLE Choppa, Cordae, Internet Money, and Pink Sweats – some making their first private market investments.
“Koia is a dope, healthy plant-based drink that just so happens to taste incredible,” Cordae said regarding his investment. “I love the product and use it on a daily basis, so the opportunity to become an early investor was a no-brainer.”
Besides the celebrity investors, Koia is also attracting plenty of other interested parties. The funding announcement also mentions major investments from Karpreilly, AF Ventures (Accel Foods), CircleUp, and Monogram Capital. Other investors include several MLB players, NBA stars, musicians, and music executives.
Growing Market for Vegan Beverages
Koia’s recent mainstream investment follows years of impressive growth as the company expands across the US. The undisclosed funding round follows a record-breaking year, selling nearly $60 million in the retail sector. The company revealed that it sold 35 million bottles, and reported 100 percent year-over-year growth, which coincides with the broader vegan beverage market, expected to reach $66 billion by 2028.
"As we continue to build this company and break ground in the beverage industry, we are thrilled for this incredibly talented and diverse group of investors to be part of our Koia family," says Chris Hunter, Co-Founder & CEO of Koia. "Their voices and perspectives are meaningful in the conversation around health and nutrition, and they share our collective passion for creating better access to health. Their support is a testament to the power of the better-for-you product and plant-based movement.”
The vegan brand currently ranks as one of the fastest-growing refrigerated beverages on Instacart. Grand View Research also notes that Koia will be a key player in plant-based beverage growth over the next decade. The brand also reported a 400 percent sale increase within the past three years, expanding to approximately 17,000 stores nationwide. People can find the company's plant-based selection at Whole Foods, Targets, 7-Elevens, Walmarts, and more.
Vegan NBA Star Chris Paul Invests
The impressive cast of celebrity investors joins long-time investor NBA star Chris Paul, who first invested in Koia in 2021. The Phoenix Suns point guard first went vegan in 2019 and since has dedicated himself to promoting vegan dieting and products. Last year, the basketball player teamed up with Koia to bring healthy, nutrient-rich food to underserved communities, establishing Koia vending machines at several Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
Paul also helped Koia expand its consumer base by donating 50,000 Koia Straw-nana Dream Smoothies to shoppers using the online grocery platform GoPuff. GoPuff customers received free plant-based smoothies with Paul’s help. Now, Paul continues to help Koia expand its production and distribution, while also maintaining the Vending Machine Program.
“After working closely with Koia for the past several months, I can see how committed they are to building a successful business and helping people lead healthier lives,” NBA Star Chris Paul “With this new round of investors and friends joining the Koia Krew, we have even more potential to create opportunity and access for underserved communities."