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Bartesian seeks CPG investor

Richard Collings
Aug 3, 2022
A Bartesian cocktail maker, which is a small kitchen appliance in black that uses pods to make cocktails, sits on a countertop.
The Bartesian cocktail machine. Photo: Bridget Bennett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Bartesian, which has been billed as the "Keurig" or "Nespresso" for cocktails, is in discussions to raise Series B funding, says CEO Ryan Close.

Why it matters: Bartesian could emerge as a category leader after key rival Drinkworks abruptly shuttered. Drinkworks, a partnership between Anheuser-Busch and Keurig Dr. Pepper, closed up shop in December, less than two years after launching.

Details: Close declined to share the prospective size of a Series B raise, but said Bartesian is seeking a consumer packaged goods partner, such as Nestlé, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, or one of the large distillers, to help it expand into new markets and scale more quickly.

  • "We've had lots of inbound interest with plenty of offers to invest, but we're working to find a partner who we can tap into more sophisticated global distribution networks," Close says.
  • Currently, the cocktail pod maker has a team of fewer than 20 employees that spearheaded the company's launch in the United Kingdom, plus negotiated a new partnership in Italy.
  • A partner would help Bartesian "quickly scale without tripping over our toes," he says.

By the numbers: Bartesian's products, including machines and pods, have been on the market for three years, generating over $16 million in direct revenue in 2020 and $32 million in 2021, Close says.

  • Bartesian expects to generate revenue of $60 million this year and $100 million next year, based on distribution deals inked with the likes of Walmart, he says.
  • Last April, Bartesian raised a $20 million Series A round led by Cleveland Avenue (founded by former McDonald's CEO Don Thompson) with participation from Stanley Black & Decker's Stanley Ventures.
  • The financing valued the company at more than $100 million, Close says. The upcoming Series B will increase that figure, he says, declining to comment further.

Yes, and: Close claims the company is profitable, as most of its sales are generated by its pods and because it licenses out its IP for the cocktail machines to Stanley Black & Decker and Hamilton Beach.

  • Given the cost and low margins of being in the appliance-making business, Bartesian has outsourced manufacturing to focus on pods, Close says.

Of note: The company has spent little on marketing, but has been featured on Oprah.com and Good Housekeeping.

What's next: Bartesian will be available in another 4,000 retailers in Q4 of this year.

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