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Mayawell targets capital raise

Sliced watermelon interspersed with white and green aluminums cans containing a prebiotic carbonated beverage from Mayawell.

Photo: Mayawell

Mayawell, a maker of agave-based prebiotic sodas, will look to raise between $5 million and $7.5 million from institutional investors next year, CEO Oliver Shuttlesworth tells Axios.

Why it's the BFD: The functional beverage category was valued at $109 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6% between 2022 and 2032, according to Future Market Insights, with startups such as Olipop and Koia successfully raising rounds this year.

Details: "We are in a good spot to raise a proper price round at a valuation everyone is comfortable with," Shuttlesworth says.

  • Funds raised will be incorporated into Mayawell's Series A, which the company plans to open next year.
  • Shuttleworth cautions that he doesn't want to part with too much of the company at too low a valuation.
  • As it eyes fundraising next year, he says, in the interim it plans to fund the business via inventory financing, which would provide cash to the company on a revolving basis.

By the numbers: Shuttlesworth declined to disclose specific figures but said Mayawell generates revenue in the seven-figure range and grew 350% year-over-year in 2020 and 2021 — with plans to do the same this year.

Of note: Mayawell supports indigenous communities as a way to commoditize the agave crop with the sale of its products.

  • It also supports reforestation and helps to generate work for artisans who craft products from woven agave fibers.

Catch up fast: The company raised a $2 million seed round led by Mexico-based distillery Casa Armando Guillermo Prieto to expand distribution.

  • The investor got its start distributing Coca-Cola in Mexico, Shuttlesworth notes.
  • Currently the beverage startup's products are available in Texas, California and Florida, he says.

Flashback: The company's product was inspired by pulque, an ancient Aztec fermented beverage made from agave once reserved only for select individuals, Shuttlesworth says.

  • As Shuttlesworth researched the idea during his travels in Mexico, in 2018 he was introduced to Vincente Reyes, a pioneer in the mezcal industry.
  • After getting to know each other, the two went into business together and began developing a formulation.

State of play: Rivals in the space include Olipop and Poppi, the latter having named former Sparkling Ice leader Chris Hall as its CEO this year.

  • Shuttlesworth says that while the two companies play to soda drinkers, Mayawell is instead courting kombucha drinkers.
  • The kombucha market generates some $1.2 billion in sales, he notes, but sales are declining and consumers and retailers are looking for new brands to replace aging products.
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