Brain food technology company Ārepa has been steadily building out its business and APAC distribution after pushing back plans for a $5m US capital raise until August this year.
The Auckland-based business last year completed a $2.5m pre-series A funding round bringing on notable New Zealand backers and advisory talent, including former Zespri chief executive Lain Jager and the creative brains behind Kiwi footwear innovator allbirds, Simon Endres.
It was looking towards raising a further $5m from international investment partners in August 2021 to support a move into the US, but paused to concentrate on cementing its position closer to home first.
“After bringing on Lain and Simon, two high-profile industry experts in their own field, we sat back and realised we had enough runway to last until September this year,” co-founder Angus Brown told the Ticker.
“We asked ourselves, why are we trying to raise another $5m from US-based investors and launch into the US in parallel with continuing our growth here and in Australia?”
Since making the decision to take ‘one step at a time’, Brown said Ārepa had been scaling up its now 13-strong team, developing a new purpose-built headquarters at The Chambers in Auckland, continuing its R&D programme and, of course, adding more contracts for its flagship nootropic drink.
This has meant a big focus on Australia. Ārepa recently doubled the number of Coles stores it supplies with its hero 300ml product now in 400 outlets across the country.
And this month it added a lucrative account with upmarket grocery chain Harris Farms, which is taking both its 300ml and 750ml products.
Brown estimated that the current accounts will deliver the company “a couple of million” in revenue, and expected that Australia “could be a $20m market for us in the next three years”.
Ārepa plans to add other retailers such as supermarkets, move into route trade with banners such as BP and Coles Express, plus thousands of independent retailers across the country, Brown added, in conjunction with its D2C platform, which generated circa 50% of the company’s revenue.
“By just [expanding in Australia], when we come to raise in August the multiple at which our company will be valued will be double or triple. Then we can launch into the US,” Brown said.
By May the company will also have a foothold in Singapore. It has secured a partnership with Dairy Farm International, a major pan-Asian retail and wholesale player that operated more than 9,997 outlets in the region across its associates and joint ventures.
“We are going into premium supermarket chain Cold Storage launching in May,” Brown said.
“It is probably around a half-a-million dollar contract which isn’t big for us, but it opens up the potential for around $4m of revenue over the next 24 months by expanding with Dairy Farm.”
Brown added that the company plans to grow its team to 22 members by the end of the year and has circled 1 April to move into its new headquarters.
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