CBD beverage brand Unity Wellness Co. has raised $1.25 million in a Series A funding round poised to aid the brand’s nationwide expansion.

Founded in 2019, the California-based company is currently available in more than 500 stores across 16 states, including at Erewhon, alongside numerous independent accounts. The brand was co-founded by CEO Alex Valley, a professional model and influencer, and CMO Zak Cosman, also the VP of marketing firm SALT XC.

Unity produces a line of CBD and adaptogenic beverages available in Elderflower Rose, Ginger Lemonade, Strawberry Lemonade, Blackberry Tea and Blueberry Lavender flavors. Each 14 oz. bottle contains 30 mg of hemp extract, ashwagandha, ginkgo biloba and rhodiola rosea. The products have a suggested retail price of $6.99 per bottle.

According to Cosman, the Series A round was led by an unnamed South American venture capital firm. The funding, he said, will primarily go towards hiring sales representatives around the country in order to grow Unity’s presence in retail — a move the company hopes will give it the velocity it needs to begin opening up DSD distribution houses in 2021. He noted the brand is targeting several key urban markets, including San Francisco, Austin, Miami and Boston among other cities.

The company is also optimistic that with the incoming Joe Biden administration, the federal government may move to clear up regulations surrounding CBD and cannabis, allowing Unity to begin targeting mainstream retail chains.

“We’ve been bootstrapping and really scrappy over the past year — and now we have capital,” Cosman said in a phone call today. “We’ve had distributors that basically said, ‘we like the taste, we like the packaging, we want to work with you, but show us some momentum first.’ So, it’s been the chicken or the egg thing.”

To grow brand awareness, Cosman said Unity will launch a social media marketing campaign built around influencers, digital ads and PR to win earned media.

Looking ahead, Unity is also developing a line of CBD-infused wellness bars. The bars are vegan, low sugar, high in fiber and contain 20 mg of CBD and 20 grams of plant-based protein per serving.

“We want to be more approachable,” he said. “One of our competitors is kombucha and I think wherever kombucha is line-priced in a store, I don’t want to be much more than $2 more than that. I think that’s what the consumer is willing to spend.”

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