"Ugly" lemon and lime juice cube startup Naked Rivals squeezes $3m from angel investor

"Ugly" lemon and lime juice cube startup Naked Rivals squeezes $3m from angel investor

Naked Rivals founders Andrew and Kate Gordon.

A husband-and-wife founder team, whose lemon and lime juice cubes sourced from "ugly" fruit are now stocked in 1,600 supermarkets around the country, have successfully raised $3 million for their startup Naked Rivals.

Andrew Gordon tells Business News Australia he co-founded Naked Rivals 18 months ago as a side hustle with his wife Kate Gordon who was pregnant at the time with their third child. Through personal experience they both recognised the challenge of balancing healthy eating and sustainability with the demands of a busy family life.

Thus Naked Rivals was created as a brand dedicated to providing convenient, healthy ingredients while contributing to the circular economy, utilising lemons and limes that would be unfit for sale otherwise due to physical defects. 

The pair were working in the financial services sector at the time, and still do, working on the business over the weekends while their business partner Ivone Ruiz manages daily operations. Naked Rivals outsources its manufacturing, and sources its product from the Mildura region of Victoria as well as select farms in Queensland. 

Gordon's "crazy idea" to give home cooks, bakers and mixologists just the amount of juice they need per serve has been embraced by supermarkets, with ranging deals secured late last year with the likes of Woolworths Group (ASX: WOW), Coles Group (ASX: COL) and IGA.

"I was one of the first to appear in Dragons' Den in the UK (similar to Shark Tank), so I have a long history of coming up with crazy, simple ideas," says Gordon, who back in 2005 was reportedly "derided" on the programme for his STABLEtables device to stop tables from wobbling, but went on to achieve sales success.

"I realised very quickly that you need professional help when going into a venture like this. We’ve achieved this accelerated success because we wrapped the right people around us, who’ve hopefully made all of their mistakes in the past," he says, highlighting the importance of enlisting an expert like Ruiz with great networks and experience to execute the plan

He says revenue in the first three months of trading for the company was $500,000, and now Naked Rivals has bold ambitions to expand beyond the domestic market and retail channel, bolstered by the recent $3 million raise sourced from a single ultra-high-net-worth family through the Australian Investment Network.

"Lemon and limes are just the beginning," says Andrew Gordon.

The entrepreneur explains the company is currently in talks with several global distributors and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) brands to scale its product range internationally. 

"We are delighted to have secured this substantial capital investment," adds co-founder Kate Gordon.

"Our success is rooted in our ability to prove and demonstrate our global scaling ambitions. Additionally, we've sharpened our value proposition, centered around the theme of 'convenience with a conscience."

 

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