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Path sets sights on Liquid Death with fresh $30M

Three white aluminum bottles of Path water on a black background.

Photo: courtesy of Path Water

Path Water, a company that sells bottled water in reusable aluminum containers, raised $30 million in Series A funding, the company tells Axios.

Why it matters: Selling less product over time is not traditionally a venture-friendly business model, but Path's large Series A implies its consumer-focused investors are willing to take the risk.

Details: Altos Ventures, a consumer-focused firm in Silicon Valley, led the all-equity round and will receive a board seat in the deal.

  • Joining Altos were Blue Investment Group, HartBeat Ventures (Kevin Hart’s venture fund), Ryan Seacrest, Guy Fieri, and Ninja.
  • The round closed at the end of August, and the valuation was not disclosed.

State of play: Bottled water is among the most visible components of consumer plastic consumption and has been the target of public service campaigns for decades, giving rise to two distinct types of sustainability focused companies.

  • The largest category is companies selling water in aluminum cans similar to soda or alcohol. Liquid Death, the festival staple water brand with the tagline "death to plastic" is among the largest and has raised $125 million in private funding as of January.
  • There is also the smaller reusable container market featuring S'well and Hydro Flask. The containers often sell for a premium — a 32-ounce Hydro Flask runs just under $50 — and cycle in and out with changing consumer trends.
  • Path says it sits between the two distinct markets with its pre-filled reusable aluminum container, which was recently designed to replace its plastic cap with an all-aluminum enclosure.

Zoom out: Path is competing with heavy-hitting brands, and Liquid Death in particular has built a loyal following with a massive marketing machine run by its founder, a former creative employee at Netflix.

  • Path CEO Shadi Bakour tells Axios that the majority of the $30 million in funding will go toward building Path's own marketing machine.
  • "I believe that, ultimately, our main competitor is plastic and we are fighting the battle against single-use plastics. Anyone putting that message out there that's better for the planet, we are in support of that," Bakour says.
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