US – Botanical-infused sparkling water brand Aura Bora has closed a Series A funding round led by Siddhi Capital bringing its total fundraising efforts to over US$10m since launching in 2019.

The raise was led by Siddhi Capital, with additional participation from Consumer Ventures, Gaingels, Seaside Ventures, and Simple Food, as well as Waterloo co-founder Clayton Christopher.

Now that the water brand company has secured this investment, it said the funding will help grow Aura Bora’s sales team to cover more ground and connect with more buyers.

Aura Bora has made a huge jump from selling cans of sparkling water with peculiar flavor profiles such as lavender cucumber and lemongrass coconut out of co-founder Paul Voge’s Subaru in the Bay Area three years ago to distributing more than 4,000 cans to retailers today.

According to Voge, real growth is still on the horizon as the brand targets mainstream and conventional channels where he argues consumers are looking for an alternative to the big brands that have dominated the category for the past several years and where a sense of “La Croix fatigue” has set in.

“I think this Series A proves that our brand doesn’t just work in nature, but it works in conventional as well. You’re seeing more and more consumers shop across channels, so your Whole Foods shopper is shopping at Walmart and vice-versa. So that certainly helps a lot of natural brands,” Voge said.

With inflation impacting virtually every CPG category, Voge noted how consumers are more willing to leap from a conventional to a premium brand such as Aura Bora.

“With inflation, more and more consumers are aware of what they’re buying. All the big conglomerates have raised their prices due to inflation. So, for more emerging brands, us included, we’re now not two or three steps higher in price, we might just be half a step higher,” Voge noted.

Notoriously crowded and difficult to establish differentiation as a new brand, the flavored sparkling water category grew 5.3% from May 2021 to May 2022 led by Sparkling Ice (+7.9% growth and 23% market share), private label, La Croix, bubly (PepsiCo), and Polar, according to IRI sales data.

Voge noted that the company is in a very promiscuous category, where consumers unlike in many other categories, are trying multiple different sparkling water brands regularly leading to more opportunities for consumer trial.

The brand’s real edge is in the taste where it uses herbal and botanical extracts to flavor its products leading to a “more natural, more up-scale” flavor profile, claimed Voge.

He said the company is seeing consumers react to its product in a way they might react to a functional drink or how they might consume soda and often, they’re consuming the brand in place of soda.

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