Why The Weeknd, Kevin Hart and 21 other celebrities invested in this vegan protein shake


Plant-based beverage brand Koia has received funding from musician The Weeknd, actor and comedian Kevin Hart and a number of other high-profile investors in the music, sports and entertainment industries. entertainment. The list of investors includes professional athletes Kyler Murray (NFL quarterback), Ryan O’Reilly (NHL hockey player), Josh Bell (MLB baseball player); young artists and executives, including Cordae (music artist), Internet Money (music producer) and Pink Sweats (music artist); and others.

Cultural icons have invested in Koia to support its mission to make nutritious, plant-based foods more accessible and convenient for everyone with its ready-to-drink plant-based protein shakes. The new capital will help support product innovation and retail expansion and Koia’s vision to make plant-based, low-sugar options available everywhere.

“As we continue to build this business and innovate in the beverage industry, we are thrilled to have this incredibly talented and diverse group of investors become part of our Koia family,” said Chris Hunter, co-founder and CEO. from Koia. statement. “Their voices and perspectives are significant in the health and nutrition conversation, and they share our collective passion for creating greater access to health.”


Bringing vegan protein to underserved communities

Last year, Koia teamed up with professional basketball player and vegan Chris Paul – who currently plays point guard for the Phoenix Suns and is also an investor in Koia – to bring its plant-based shakes to underserved communities, starting with historically black college campuses. and universities (HBCU). As part of the new partnership, Paul has introduced a Koia vending machine filled with his nutritional plant-based drinks to the HBCUs Paul has relationships with. The vegan vending machine initiative is just one of the planned collaborative efforts between Paul and Koia.

Paul also purchased 50,000 units of Koia’s Straw-nana Dream Smoothie flavor and donated them to GoPuff, a platform that offers a variety of consumer products for fast delivery nationwide. Paul joined GoPuff last year to help the platform diversify its plant-based offerings, particularly those offered by Black and Maroon-owned businesses.

“After working closely with Koia over the past few months, I can see how committed they are to building a successful business and helping people lead healthier lives,” Paul said in a statement. “With this new group of investors and friends joining the Koia Krew, we have even more potential to create opportunity and access for underserved communities.”



Putting plant-based nutrition first

In 2020, as the world was turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic, Koia launched its Koia Kares program to support healthcare and frontline workers battling the pandemic. The brand was set to launch two new vegan shake flavors (Keto Cookies ‘n Cream and Protein Chocolate Peanut Butter) before the pandemic and pivoted to use its inventory to serve those in need, donating more than 14,000 of its vegan nutrition drinks. Through its partnership with Founders Give, an organization using the food and beverage industry, the brand provided 4,464 bottles to healthcare workers in New York.

“Our courageous and dedicated healthcare professionals work around the clock. Tired, exhausted and with no time to take care of themselves, they need a lifeline and someone to help themselves. caring for them too, which is why it was important that we do our part by providing fast, easy and convenient nutrition,” said Koia. founder and CEO Chris Hunter told VegNews at the time. “Koia and other companies like ours are uniquely positioned to bring health and wellness resources to people. It didn’t make sense [that] we use these resources where they were needed most.



Vegan keto smoothies

Co-founded in 2016 by Hunter (who also founded adult beverage brand Four Loko and Not Your Father’s Rootbeer), Koia offers three lines of vegan drinks: Koia Protein, Koia Smoothies and Koia Keto. The new funding marks a significant milestone in Koia’s journey as the brand celebrates a record year of nearly $60 million in retail sales with 35 million bottles sold, completing 100% year-on-year growth. another and a 400% increase in sales within the past three years.

In 2019, Koia launched its line of vegan keto smoothies in Cake Batter, Chocolate Brownie, and Caramel Crème flavors exclusively on Whole Foods Market. The Koia Keto range offers low-sugar, high-fat smoothies specially designed for those following a ketogenic (“keto”) diet who aim to consume 80% of their daily calories from fat, whether they usually draw meat and dairy products. problem that Koia is addressing with its vegan smoothies. Now, the brand offers expanded flavors in its keto and protein lines, as well as a line of fruit-based smoothies, in 17,000 stores across the United States, including Whole Foods, Target, Walmart, Gopuff and 7-Eleven.

“Koia is a healthy plant-based drink that tastes amazing,” rap artist Cordae said in a statement. “I love the product and use it daily, so the opportunity to become an early investor was a no-brainer.”

For more on celebrity investing, read:
Post Malone leads $2.3 million investment in new brand of vegan burgers
Jay-Z helps vegan cheese brand Misha’s raise $3 million

Rihanna invests in Vegan Cookie Company

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