Shaun Roberts, CEO of Hawaii-based KonaRed, was speaking to FoodNavigator-USA after inking three strategic deals he believes could propel his branded beverages from coffee fruit - the cherry encasing the coffee bean (seed) - into the mass market.
The first generates cash: KonaRed, which launched its first products in 2011 and became a public company in 2013, has just struck a deal with investment firm Lincoln Park Capital (LPC) Fund LLC giving it the option to sell up to $12m of equity capital to LPC during a 30-month period.
The second gives KonaRed national distribution. The firm, which currently sells its beverages in Hawaii, Texas and the west coast of the US - has just teamed up with Splash Beverage Group to sell and distribute its products across the US.
The third - a licensing arrangement with nutraceuticals powerhouse VDF Futureceuticals - is all about building the IP and science behind coffee fruit bioactives.
I believe KonaRed could be a $100m brand
“We’ve always believed that coffee fruit is the king of the superfruits and we think we can do for coffee fruit what POM did for pomegranates and Sambazon did for acai," claimed Roberts.
"Over the next 30 days we’re going to be in major retail chains across the US and I believe we could be a $100m brand.”
Coffee fruit tastes nothing like coffee
Of course KonaRed is not the only game in town when it comes to coffee fruit, he acknowledged.
Ben Weiss - the entrepreneur behind Bai (click here) - has built a highly-successful beverage brand around coffee fruit (sourced from Indonesia), and plenty of other firms are also convinced of its potential, he said.