air up secures further multi-million financing and brings on co-CEO

11. Febru­ary 2020

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 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.

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