EXCLUSIVE: OLIPOP CEO on latest funding round, new products

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Functional soda brand OLIPOP recently raised $30 million in a funding round involving several celebrity investors.

food institute sat down with co-founder and CEO Ben Goodwin to learn more about the company’s product development and what it plans to do with its newly raised funds.

Below are excerpts from the conversation.

For those who don’t know OLIPOP, what can you tell us about your products and where to find them?

OLIPOP is a new type of soda, with less than 50 calories and 2-5g of sugar per can. We also offer an impressive 9g of fiber made from digestive-friendly prebiotics and botanical extracts that we have conducted in-vitro research on at Purdue University and Baylor College of Medicine. That said, we taste like a regular soda, full-bodied and refreshing. Right now we are in about 10,000 stores (WFM, Sprouts, Kroger, Target) and that number is going to about double this year.

What will OLIPOP use its new financing for?

This year it’s about penetrating a much wider range of accounts, including mass and conventional retailers across the country, so the capital will lend itself to it. This primarily means headcount, marketing, supply chain/co-packing and more R&D.

It looks like you’ve expanded your product selection a lot since your last conversation with food institute – what can you tell us about your new flavors and variety packs?

Definitely true! We were looking to really target soda experiences for our customers. Our Classic Grape, Orange Squeeze and Orange Cream (a WFM exclusive) all really live up to that. We’re also rolling out multipacks (4 packs to start) of some of our customers’ favorite flavors (Strawberry Vanilla and Root Beer) so people can grab a few cans at a time for convenience.

Are there any new product flavors in development that you can tell us about?

Yeah, we have a ton in development right now that I’m really excited about. This year and next will be important on that front. We will have more to share in the coming months! I recommend people sign up for our text list at drinkolipop.com for a quick preview and access to new flavors!

Recent reports indicate that the Jonas Brothers, Mindy Kaling and Gwyneth Paltrow were among your new investors. Why do you think these celebrities care about your brand?

A number of celebrity investors who participated in this round are genuine organic consumers of the product who also recognize the economic opportunity of OLIPOP, so it’s a win-win. It’s always been very important to us not to just pay celebrities to “endorse” products they don’t really believe in, because that leads to a lower bottom line and looks inauthentic to everyone.

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