Bae Juice backed by gaming rich-lister Escalante in latest $1m capital raise

Bae Juice backed by gaming rich-lister Escalante in latest $1m capital raise

Bae Juice co-founders (L-R) Tim O’Sullivan, Sumin Do and Liam Gostencnik.

Melbourne-based startup Bae Juice has raised $1 million in a new funding round that has attracted the support of billionaire technology and gaming entrepreneur Laurence Escalante as the business gears up to accelerate growth in the US.

Escalante came on board as an investor through his family investment vehicle Lance East Office (LEO) after initially trying the Bae Juice product and then exploring the company’s growth potential.

“I love backing great teams building great things and Bae Juice is that – a great product and great people with a strong future ahead,” says Escalante, the founder of Perth tech unicorn Virtual Gaming Worlds.

Existing investor the Honan Capital family office also participated in the latest round.

“We are proud to announce our reinvestment in Bae Juice, on the heels of strong growth and an incredible team,” says Will Honan, who is currently on the Bae Juice board.

“We are looking forward to working with our new partners in Lance East, continuing sustained growth in Australia and Bae’s expansion into the US.”

Bae Juice, which was founded in 2019 by Tim O’Sullivan, Liam Gostencnik and Sumin Do, last year struck an agreement with US-based company Gold Coast Distributors to supply Bae Juice in the New York Tri-state area in the first major push by the startup in the US.

The company is aiming to be a market leader in Australia with Bae Juice – a hangover prevention juice made entirely from Korean pear juice – which is already sold by Woolworths, BWS and Dan Murphys.

Bae Juice co-founder Sumin Do at a pear farm in Korea.
Bae Juice co-founder Sumin Do (right) at a pear farm in Korea. 

 

The Korean pear is considered a super-food that is high in fibre and antioxidants and has been found to assist with the symptoms commonly associated with hangovers.

Bae Juice says it plans to use funds from the latest round to accelerate its recent expansion in the US alongside Gold Coast Distributors, which has been building the brand's retail presence in New York City.

The company is aiming to be in more than 1,000 stores in New York this year and begin distribution in other states. The company is also exploring the launch of new flavours and products.

“The LEO team understood the proposition from the get-go and have already brought incredible strategic value as we continue to scale,” says O’Sullivan. “We look forward to working with the team closely.”

The once bootstrapped company, which began in a 20sqm storage unit in Melbourne, has already sold more than 2.5 million units of product in the last five years.

The growth of the business saw company founders O'Sullivan, Gostencnik and Do selected as finalists in the 2023 Melbourne Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.

Meanwhile, Bae Juice says it is on the cusp of unveiling a distribution deal with another major Australian retailer in 2024, which will lift its footprint to around 5,000 stores across Australia.

“This investment will allow us to stamp ourselves as the market leader in our category in Australia as well as building on an already exciting launch in the US,” says Gostencnik.

Bae Juice. Photo via Facebook.
Bae Juice. Photo via Facebook.

 

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