SANTA BARBARA, CALIF. — Plant-based nutrition brand KOS raised $12 million in a Series A funding round led by industry veterans and entrepreneurs Clayton Christopher and Brian Goldberg, with a follow-on investment from early-stage investor Springdale Ventures.
Launched in 2017, KOS offers a range of plant protein powders and daily nutrition products, including protein shakes, spirulina blends, a red juice blend and a mushroom coffee blend. It also offers functional ingredients like ashwagandha, coconut milk, spirulina, inulin, beetroot, lion’s mane mushroom, acai berry, matcha and maca root in powder and capsule forms, plus five specialty supplements targeting beauty, sleep, relaxation, immunity and energy.
Santa Barbara, Calif.-based KOS was the fastest-growing plant protein brand by total distribution points in the natural channel in 2021, according to data from SPINS. It also has a sizeable direct-to-consumer business.
“The direct line of communication with hundreds of thousands of consumers both inform us in real-time of changing customer needs but also gives us a platform to launch and test new products before taking them to the broader retail market,” said Tony Stahl, co-founder and chief executive officer.
KOS will use funds from the $12 million Series A round to ramp up retail partnerships, build customer awareness, develop new products, enter new service categories and grow its team. Led by Mr. Christopher and Mr. Goldberg, with participation from Springdale Ventures, the round brings the brand’s total funding to $14.1 million.
Mr. Christpher is the founder behind Sweet Tea Leaf, Deep Eddy Vodka, Waterloo Sparkling Water and the investment firm CAVU Ventures. Mr. Goldberg is the founder and managing director of Redbud Brands, a holding company focused on creating and scaling better-for-you brands and digital consumer ventures. He also was a founding executive at Amplify Snack Brands, maker of SkinnyPop Popcorn. Springdale Ventures previously led a $2.1 million early-stage investment for KOS in 2020.“We've been fans of the KOS brand since it first launched and have watched it develop into something quite special in a very short period,” Mr. Christopher said. “I have been a heavy user of plant-based proteins, tried them all and KOS wins on both taste and nutritional profile. Over time as an investor, you see certain patterns repeat that are clues to a brand's long-term success. KOS has exhibited many of them.”