Functional drinks startup Odyssey secures $6 million to accelerate energy drink growth


Odysseya maker of functional mushroom-based energy drinks, has raised an additional $6 million through an equity investment to give it a total of $14 million in funding since launching its first drink two years ago.

Odyssey’s products harness the health benefits of Lion’s Mane and Cordyceps mushrooms to produce a beverage that combines an energy boost with 2,750 milligrams of mushrooms to provide cognitive clarity and focus.

Lion’s Mane, in particular, has been shown to have a positive impact on cognitive function and mood in young adults, according to a 2023 National Institutes of Health pilot study.

Scott Frohman, founder and CEO of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Odyssey, first learned about the benefits of certain mushrooms from a friend who was making a mushroom powder to mix into drinks.

“I started adding it to my coffee and realized everything was clearer,” he told TechCrunch. “The best part was when I got to work I realized I didn’t need that second cup of coffee. On top of that, I just felt like I was more present and able to focus on my work.

However, Frohman didn’t really like how the powder affected the taste and texture of the drinks and preferred an energy drink delivery. So he started working on Odyssey in 2021. Today, the company has 11 SKUs, including flavors like Passion Fruit Orange. /Mango, dragon fruit lemonade and blackberry and lemon twist.

The energy in the drinks comes from a combination of L-theanine, ginseng and green tea caffeine. And there’s less added sugar to help minimize “the jitters” and sugar crashes typically associated with traditional energy drinks, Frohman said. For those who want even more caffeine, the company recently launched the Odyssey 222 line, which contains 222 milligrams of caffeine in addition to mushrooms.

More than 5,000 stores, including Publix, CVS, GNC, Erewhon, 7-Eleven, Thrive Market, Wegmans and Bristol Farms, carry Odyssey products. Frohman did not provide growth metrics, but said the company is seeing sales increase by three to five cans per week per SKU sold.

Growth in the functional beverage industry has accelerated in recent years as consumers increasingly seek healthier foods. THE a global category of functional soda is expected be valued at $208 billion by 2027. This has inspired new brands to emerge and has encouraged some venture capitalists to invest in the area.

During this time, we’ve seen brands like healthier soda companies Poppy And Olipop capture capital in 2022, while The Ryl company raised $6.7 million in early 2023 for its ready-to-drink functional tea line.

Odyssey also joins a long list of companies that harness mushrooms and mycelium, the mushroom root, to make everything: alternative proteins has leather-like materials to construction materials. Companies like Infinite roots they even grow mushrooms commercially.

“As the time is undoubtedly right, mycelium can appeal to consumers with taste, nutritional, functional, scalable and impact-related benefits,” Maya Schushan Orgad, CTO of PeakBridge, said in a statement. review of mycelium trends.

Meanwhile, Odyssey’s new funding round includes strategic investor Richard Laver of Rocket Beverage Group, who joins a group of existing stakeholders contributing 50% of the total amount raised.

Frohman plans to allocate capital to inventory to maintain distribution and hiring in sales and marketing.

“We don’t look at this as just a product, but as a movement as a whole,” Frohman said.


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