New drink launches following Angel CoFund investment

A six figure sum investment in Bristol-based Future Drinks has enabled the launch of the company’s new soft drink brand Koji.

Future Drinks co-founder Tim Chater said the company used funding secured from the Angel CoFund in May to finance the launch. The business was one of five to receive a share of £7.2m in the investment round.

Chater said: “The company was created two years ago, building on the market opportunity we could see for a product like this. But you need investment to see an opportunity through to market.

“We are using the capital to drive the product launch. Following successful market-testing with the on- and off-trade through Chandos Delis and Loungers Group, there was a need to make a real impact with our brand and with sales and marketing, as well as the need for working capital to secure intellectual property rights and to invest in full-scale production.

“In the end we raised equity and debt, with the equity investors coming on board supported by bank debt from HSBC. As co-founders, myself and Luke Sapsed still have majority ownership, which was important to us as we take the product to market.”

Jonathan Poole, partner at Bristol law firm Temple Bright, advised on the deal. He said: “For a start-up, Future Drinks always had a strong story to tell because Tim and Luke are experienced in this sector.

“They understood from early on that you need a strong brand, a proper marketing budget and an order book to make the proposition viable for would-be investors. With those elements in place, it was a question to finding the investors that were the best fit with the opportunity and that were happy to co-invest alongside others.

“That’s always a challenging process, but Tim and Luke threw themselves into it and now have a great team of investors behind them helping to make Koji a great success.”

Future Drinks are producing Koji in collaboration with Shepton Mallet based cider manufacturer Brothers Drinks.

This article appeared in Insider News on 25 July 2012.