The coconut water company is valued at $833M.
This week, Vita Coco (NYSE: COCO) debuted on Wall Street with an IPO, raising $37.5 million. The company had early big-name investors like Madonna, Matthew McConaughey, and Demi Moore, as coconut beverages became a health trend. Singer Rihanna was such a fan that she became a spokesperson for the drink line.
The idea for the coconut beverage company came in 2003 when two childhood friends, Mike Kirban and Ira Liran, were in an NYC bar and started talking with two Brazilian women. Kirban and Liran asked the women what they missed most about Brazil, and the women shared that they missed “agua de coco.” It was then that the friends became intrigued by coconut beverages and decided to launch Vita Coco.
In addition to coconut water, the non-GMO and certified Kosher line includes sparkling beverages and energy drinks.
Fitness instructors and yoga teachers quickly became champions for Vita Coco, highlighting the hydration powers of coconuts and its potassium-rich elements. The beverage is branded as versatile, touted as the perfect addition to a smoothie, used as a post-workout drink, a pick-me-up, part of a cocktail, and even a hangover cure.
The company has managed to hit the trifecta of success with younger people: a health-forward product with notable backers, sustainable packaging, and giving back. In response to the pandemic, Vita Coco donated $1 million to Feeding America and No Kid Hungry to assist in feeding children when their schools closed. It also provided emergency grants to food banks and community groups in need.
In Vita Coco’s SEC filing, its prospectus summary states that the company has embraced the power of plants from around the globe and transformed them into healthy beverages, rivaling orange juice and calls coconut water a “natural sports drink invented by Mother Nature.” The company also states that it is a Public Benefit Corporation “focused on harnessing, while protecting, nature’s resources for the betterment of the world.”
Vita Coco sources its coconuts from small family farms in Southeast Asia and Brazil. The company has led to factories in areas like the Philippines, Brazil, and Sri Lanka, which has brought industry and economic growth for the communities. In an interview last year, Kirban told Forbes that Vita Coco’s manufacturing led to TV antennas popping up and farmers driving new cars in an area that was quickly transforming.
In June, there were reports that Vita Coca decided to prepare an IPO after seeing investors surge to back Oatly Inc’s IPO. Oatly, which creates milk substitutes for ice cream, yogurt, and beverages, had a successful IPO that resulted in a market value of $12 billion.
While Vita Coco has faced some supply chain issues like many businesses due to the pandemic, co-founder and co-CEO Mike Kirban said that it hasn’t impacted Vita Coco’s growth.
“We haven’t been fully in stock for 18 to 24 months, but at the same time, we’ve grown our business substantially. Not only are we able to keep up, we’re able to accelerate growth even with empty shelves out there,” Kirban shared in an interview.
Vita Coco currently operates in over 30 countries. Experts say that the coconut water market is on track for substantial growth and project that by 2024, the market may reach 2.08 billion dollars in sales in the US.
Courtney Rehfeldt has worked in the broadcasting media industry since 2007 and has freelanced since 2012. Her work has been featured in Age of Awareness, Times Beacon Record, The New York Times, and she has an upcoming piece in Slate. She studied yoga & meditation under Beryl Bender Birch at The Hard & The Soft Yoga Institute. She enjoys hiking, being outdoors, and is an avid reader. Courtney has a BA in Media & Communications studies.