air up secures further multi-million financing and brings on co-CEO
Munich — The new year begins confidently for air up: The Munich-based startup air up receives more than 2.3 million euros from its existing investors in an interim financing round. Existing investors are funding the scent bottle startup with another 2.3 million euros. The VC OysterBay around Christoph Miller (photo) acts as lead investor . Experienced founder and ex-Freeletics CMO Christian Hauth now on board as co-CEO.
Following the successful market launch in 2019, the funds from the new round will be used for product development, marketing, company growth and regional expansion. The venture capital fund OysterBay, which specializes in FoodTech and is backed by the experienced Hamburg-based beverage entrepreneur Christoph Miller, is acting as the lead investor. He and other prominent investors such as Ralf Dümmel and Frank Thelen already invested in the drinking system in mid-2018, which gives water a specific taste only through scent.
“As big fans of air up, it was a pleasure for OysterBay to close this investment as lead investor. air up is a perfect combination of sustainability, global IP, lifestyle as well as food and tech. The founding team is highly motivated, committed and professional!”, says Christoph Miller.
Expansion of management due to strong growth
The young company is on course for economic success: the first production batch was sold out within a few weeks, and since August 2019 a total of more than 100,000 bottles have been distributed. As a result, the air up founders plan to continue to pursue their vision of a healthy and sustainable beverage revolution and ensure product leadership in the scent-based drinks sector. The startup’s growth is also evident in terms of personnel: since February 2019, the team has grown from the five founders to a total of 30 members now. In managing the young team, air up has been supported since January by siroop founder and ex-Freeletics CMO Christian Hauth, who brings extensive management experience with fast-growing startups. As co-CEO, Hauth will take over the areas of strategy, HR and organization from CEO Jannis Koppitz, who will continue to be responsible for finance, financing and company development.
The 41-year-old Hauth has a great deal of experience in the management of young, rapidly expanding technology companies and special expertise in e‑commerce, online marketing and employee management. After founding the Swiss online marketplace siroop, which already reached a turnover of 60 million euros and a size of 180 employees after two years, he was Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at the well-known Munich-based fitness startup Freeletics for several years. “It feels a bit like starting up my own business, coming on board with air up at such an early stage. It provides fantastic opportunities to help shape the future of the team and the product. At the same time, having a team that is hungry and has an incredible power for change within them holds a lot of potential. With air up, we want to achieve a small revolution by giving people the opportunity to improve their eating habits in a sustainable way.”
Expansion of brand awareness and further development of the product portfolio
In addition to Germany, air up will also focus on Austria and Switzerland from spring 2020. Here, air up was already available to order online, but few resources have been used to increase brand awareness. The aim is to be available, as in Germany, in the company’s own web store, the leading marketplaces and in stationary retail outlets, thus visibly establishing the scent-based drinks segment. To date, the retronasal hydration system is unique in the world and has no comparable products. In addition to expanding marketing activities, the air up team also intends to use the new capital to finance further product developments. In recent weeks, the raspberry-lemon and cherry flavors have already been launched, for which there was particular market demand. As a result, January 2020 was the highest revenue month to date in the startup’s e‑commerce channels since the company’s founding — doubling December’s online sales.
About air up
air up is the world’s first drinking system that can flavor water just by adding scent. The founders want to reduce the excessive consumption of sugar in the form of soft drinks and save plastic and CO2 at the same time. air up GmbH was founded in 2019 and is headquartered in the heart of Munich. The starter sets and fragrance pods are available at www.air-up.com and at around 5,000 retail outlets, including real, Edeka and Rewe.
The air up founders spent three years developing their idea until, after more than 200 different designs and further developments, the bottle was finally ready for market launch. The project originally began with the product design studies of Lena Jüngst and Tim Jäger at the University of Applied Sciences in Schwäbisch Gmünd. After Fabian Schlang, Jannis Koppitz and Simon Nüesch joined as additional founders as students of the TU Munich, the office of the young company moved to the Munich University. With the help of various start-up grants, they were able to win over well-known investors, such as Ralf Dümmel and Frank Thelen, and thus start production of the first air up bottles.
About Oyster Bay
We mainly focus on later stage companies in the plant-based, sustainable and/or functional food and beverage consumer goods space. We invest in Series A/B as well as in Secondary’s. Oyster Bay is committed to invest in successful innovative food-tech, agricultural-tech and food e‑commerce companies which deliver financial returns and measurable social and environmental good. www.oyster-bay.vc