Iris Nova is building a next-generation consumer goods company, with a vision to reshape the future of the $1 trillion global non-alcoholic beverage industry. The company utilizes a tech-enabled, SMS-based sales and communication platform that facilitates frictionless direct-to-consumer transactions. Iris Nova applies shared technology, operational infrastructure and data across a portfolio of beverage brands, supporting rapid product innovation based on consumer demand.
Today Iris Nova announced a $15M round of seed funding to expand its portfolio of brands and further tech capabilities through its SMS-based distribution platform. Additionally, Iris Nova will allocate a portion of funding to Iris Nova Ventures to invest in early stage beverage brands and offer value-added access to its cCommerce distribution platform.
The round includes investment from The Coca-Cola Company’s Venturing & Emerging Brands unit as well as prominent venture firms including GGV, Greycroft, CASSIUS, Imaginary Ventures, Betaworks Ventures, Lakehouse Ventures and Nebari Ventures. Notable industry leaders investing in the round include Tim Armstrong, Gary Vaynerchuk, Chris Burch, Michael Rapino, Ron Burkle, Kate Hudson, Sophia Bush, Alex Rodriguez and Scooter Braun.
“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.” Alan Patricof, Co-Founder & Managing Director, Greycroft.
Over the last three years, Iris Nova has built infrastructure to support direct sales of beverages at scale using a proprietary conversational commerce (cCommerce) platform that allows customers to place orders and interact with the company via text message. The cCommerce model prioritizes customer convenience and delivers a heightened, consistent experience by enabling seamless communication and easy access to Iris Nova’s portfolio of beverages.
The first brand under the Iris Nova umbrella, DIRTY LEMON, launched in 2015 as the world’s first direct-to-consumer beverage brand selling exclusively by text message. Consumers responded — DIRTY LEMON has sold over 2 million bottles since 2015 and processed 90% of orders entirely via text message. DIRTY LEMON has doubled revenue YOY since inception, and projects growth of 250% in 2019. The brand is proof of concept of cCommerce and the larger vision to expand to a portfolio of beverage brands under Iris Nova. DIRTY LEMON’s full line-up of products includes DIRTY LEMON +turmeric, +collagen, +charcoal, +matcha, +ginseng, +sleep and +rose.
“Iris Nova is challenging the traditional model of beverage distribution by directly engaging with its customers. Zak and his team have proven success building distinct first-class, next generation brands based on evolving customer preference.” Natalie Massenet, DBE, Founder, Imaginary Ventures.
Founded by Zak Normandin, Iris Nova can innovate without shelf-space constraints, creating beverage concepts from ideation to production in 30 days. By selling via natural conversation, Iris Nova offers consumers a more efficient and intuitive experience, owning the virtual shelf of the future – the cellphone screen.
“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,” says Normandin.
The second Iris Nova brand property, The Drug Store, is a conceptual retail experience used to test new beverage concepts before they’re produced on a national scale — the cocktail bar is all vertically integrated and uses the Iris Nova cCommerce platform for all purchases. The first location, in New York City’s Tribeca neighborhood, opened to great success in September 2018. Iris Nova plans to expand The Drug Store to three additional locations nationally throughout 2019.
Iris Nova is currently developing two additional non-alcoholic beverage concepts, launching in Q1 2019 and Q3 2019, marking four brands under the Iris Nova umbrella by the end of 2019. All new brands will employ the same SMS-based cCommerce platform utilized by DIRTY LEMON.
To learn more, please visit irisnova.com.
About Iris Nova
Founded in 2018, Iris Nova, Latin for “new lens,” is a parent company to innovative beverage brands that distribute via a direct-to-consumer conversational commerce (cCommerce) model, which interacts with customers exclusively via text message. Iris Nova’s disruptive distribution strategy enables the company to meet the rapidly evolving tastes and preference of the modern consumer. Iris Nova first introduced this sales channel in 2015 with DIRTY LEMON, and has since expanded its portfolio to include The Drug Store, with two additional beverage concepts launching in 2019.