Liquid Death, a four-year LA-based canned mountain water startup that has steadily gained market share and press coverage by amusingly promising to “kill your thirst,” has just raised $ 15 million to Series-C -Means applied. The round brings the company’s previous support to $ 50 million.
The new funding – after a Series B round worth $ 23 million last fall – was apparently about attracting more strategic partners for the brand. Most significantly, Live Nation, the giant concert promoter, has just become a stock investor and as part of the deal will only sell Liquid Death for a limited period of time at its venues and festivals across the US.
This is a big deal. While Liquid Death has done pretty well on its own in terms of distribution, the water is now believed to be shipped to 16,000 locations across the US, including bars, tattoo parlors, cafes, local liquor stores, and “big box” stores like Whole Foods . Walmart and 7-Eleven – Live Nation connect the brand with a massive and captive audience. According to Live Nation, in a typical (non-COVID) year 100 million fans will be invited to events at more than 120 Live Nation-operated venues and festivals in the United States (because Liquid Death comes in recyclable aluminum cans) compared to far fewer recyclable plastic bottles the connection looks good for Live Nation as well.)
Liquid Death co-founder and CEO Mike Cessario, a former creative director and copywriter, declined yesterday to say how much Live Nation plans to charge for its products. But he confirmed that the now 60-strong company “saw a lot of growth in retail and the Internet over the past year” and “didn’t have to raise a lot of money now.” In fact, he found that, as a “mature” startup, Liquid Death now has “more access to favorable debt terms for working capital” should it go down this path at some point.
Other investors in the new round include Tony Hawk, Wiz Khalifa, Steve Aoki, Kelly Campbell, President of Hulu, and Michael Dubin, founder of the Dollar Shave Club.
According to Cessario, the new funding will not be used for international expansion – not yet. Although Liquid Death is available in Canada and is receiving “tons of social expansion requests for international expansion,” the company is “focused on conquering the US and Canada for the time being,” he tells us. In terms of branching out into new products, he says, the team is “exploring some ideas like limited-edition flavors for later this year”.