Nexba uncaps new record for non-tech Aussie crowdfunding

Nexba uncaps new record for non-tech Aussie crowdfunding

The founders of a naturally sugar-free drink company are figuratively fizzing with excitement after raising $6 million in a Series A Round through crowdfunding platform VentureCrowd.

The milestone from Sydney-headquartered Nexba represents Australia's largest non-tech crowdfunding raise to date.

Gross revenues for the group rose 148 per cent in FY18 after it launched new functional ranges such as kombucha and probiotic water, while the number of Australian households buying Nexba's products rose 202 per cent to 460,000.

Founded by Troy Douglas and Drew Bilbe in 2010, the company is reportedly on track to achieving another year of doubling gross revenues for FY19.

Of the $6 million raised almost $1.5 million came from the crowdfunding element, with $100,000 as the highest amount and $5,000 as the lowest.

The remaining $4.5M came from a variety of private investorsincluding former David Jones CEO Paul Zahra, former CBA executive and now  Porter Davis CEO Adrian Hondros, Farage founder Joe Farage and Budburst Capital director John Bacon.

The raising follows a deal in February that saw the two founders become the first Australian entrepreneurs to receive backing from Gaingels - a global investment fund for LGBT founders.

"Our success has been achieved by staying true to our core purpose of combating the health risks caused by both sugar-laden and artificially-sweetened drinks, whilst never compromising on taste," says Bilbe.

"We were the first to market here in Australia and we continue to innovate with our retail partners to maintain our status as Australia's leading Naturally Sugar Free beverage brand."

The financing will also support Nexba's global expansion plans with a key focus in the UK.

In 2018, Nexba inked a partnership with the UK's third largest retailer Sainsbury's, as part of its 'Future Brands' initiative. The partnership has seen Nexba products rolled out to large-format stores nationwide.

"Our launch into the UK late last year was a huge step forward on our mission to become the fastest growing Naturally Sugar Free brand," says Douglas, who is also Nexba's global CEO.

"Nexba has  transitioned from start up to scale up, the UK is about proving global scalability of what is the future of food and beverage being great tasting no sugar and nothing artificial alternatives.

"We forecast continued acceleration  in the years to come as we hit other large markets such as the US."

For John Bacon, who is an advisory board member and existing shareholder of both VentureCrowd and Nexba, the investment was a strategic one.

"Nexba has the winning formula, catering to the increasing consumer demand for better-for-you food and beverage products. I'm proud to support Nexba through my private equity company, Budburst Capital, because of its world-class innovations," he says.

"Nexba has the winning formula, catering to the increasing consumer demand for better-for-you food and beverage products. I'm proud to support Nexba through my private equity company, Budburst Capital, because of its world-class innovations."

VentureCrowd co-founder Steve Maarbani highlights an impressive level of interest and calibre of investors, ranging from business leaders to everyday investors

"It shows the resonance Nexba has with the market and reinforces growing consumer demand for better-for-you food and beverage products. We believe that consumer trend will continue and that Nexba will continue to growth it," he says. 

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