Iris Nova, an innovative New York-based consumer goods company, announced that it has raised $15 million in a seed round of funding. With this round of funding, Iris Nova is going to expand its portfolio of brands and further its technology capabilities through its SMS-based distribution platform. And Iris Nova is going to allocate a portion of funding to Iris Nova Ventures to invest in early-stage beverage brands.
This round of funding was provided by The Coca-Cola Company’s Venturing & Emerging Brands unit and venture firms like GGV, Greycroft, CASSIUS, Imaginary Ventures, Betaworks Ventures, Lakehouse Ventures, and Nebari Ventures. Additional investors include Tim Armstrong, Gary Vaynerchuk, Chris Burch, Michael Rapino, Ron Burkle, Kate Hudson, Sophia Bush, Alex Rodriguez, and Scooter Braun.
Photo: Iris Nova
In the past three years, Iris Nova built infrastructure to support direct sales of beverages at scale through a proprietary conversational commerce (cCommerce) platform. Through this platform, customers can place orders and interact with the company through text message.
Founded by CEO Zak Normandin, Iris Nova utilizes an SMS-based sales and communication platform that drives its frictionless direct-to-consumer transactions. This model is applied to its portfolio of beverage brands. “Iris Nova is driving innovation in an industry primed for disruption — Our data-driven approach challenges the status quo, bringing emerging beverage products to market faster. Most importantly, we’re prioritizing genuine connection with our customers through a communication channel typically reserved for friends and family,” said Normandin in a statement.
Greycroft co-founder and managing director Alan Patricof said that there are very few new businesses “that truly have the potential to make a monumental shift in their industry — we believe Iris Nova is shaping the future of the CPG industry. The text-to-order platform that Iris Nova built is helping to shape the way consumers buy products and interact with brands.”
Iris Nova’s first brand under its umbrella is DIRTY LEMON, which is the first direct-to-consumer beverage brand that sells exclusively by text message. DIRTY LEMON has sold over 2 million bottles since 2015 and processed 90% of orders entirely via text message. Since being founded, DIRTY LEMON has doubled revenue year-over-year since and is projecting growth of 250% in 2019. DIRTY LEMON’s line-up of flavors include +turmeric, +collagen, +charcoal, +matcha, +ginseng, +sleep, and +rose.
By going direct-to-consumer, Iris Nova is able to innovate without shelf-space constraints. And it can create beverage concepts from ideation to production in 30 days.
The Drug Store is Iris Nova’s second brand property, which is a conceptual retail experience used for testing new beverage concepts before being produced on a national scale. The first location has been set up in the Tribeca neighborhood of New York City. Three new locations are expected to be opened in 2019.