Bevi, The Smart Water Dispenser, Raised $35M Series C. What’s Next?

If you watch HBO (TV series) “Silicon Valley”, you may have caught a glimpse of Bevi, a beautiful and high-tech smart water dispenser. In Jan. 2019, the Boston-based (MIT spinoff) startup announced their $35M Series C led by Bessemer Venture Partners, which brings their total funding to date to more than $63M. Existing investors also participated, such as Horizon Ventures and former Starbucks backer Trinity Ventures. Zillionize invested in seed round in Sept. 2014.

Silicon Valley: Season 5, Ep 3 – Chief Operating Officer
Bevi has been mission driven since day 1 to help eliminate waste from bottled beverages (another Zillionize portco GiveMeTap shares similar mission). Since the company’s founding in 2013, Bevi says they have diverted over 65 million bottles and cans from entering landfills and oceans, at over 30,000 bottles per machine annually.

Bevi is essentially LaCroix on tap and comes in 2 models: Standup and Countertop. It’s hooked up to an existing water line and filters water directly to provide still, sparkling and flavored water on demand, including lemon, lime mint, coconut, blueberry, cucumber and more 0 or low calorie choices from fruit essence. By 2020, these machines will have more customizable additions, Bevi CEO Grundy added. Some potential features include temperature control, wider control over carbonation, an option to add functional ingredients such as vitamins to the beverage and features that can help track hydration and nutrition.

Currently, Bevi has offices in Boston, SF, NYC, and Chicago, and its clientele includes more than 2000 corporate offices (like Microsoft, Apple and Lyft), startups (like Peloton), health care facilities (like Texas Medical Center and Danbury Hospital), universities, law firms, and financial service companies (like Fidelity). It’s rapidly expanding in metropolitan areas across U.S. (more than 30 states) and Canada.

Bevi also plans on hiring significantly this year to add at least 40 employees in innovation (software, hardware and customization options), operations, sales and marketing to its current staff of 90 people strong. “We’ve been recruiting executives from the best of the best in order to become one of the best ourselves,” Grundy says. Their notable executive hires since last year included COO out of Amazon, a VP of Hardware Engineering out of Boston Dynamics, a VP of Finance from Placester, and Sales Executive from PepsiCo and Starbucks.

Calling customized drinks a new category that Bevi has the potential to “own,” Grundy believes customization will play an important role in the beverage industry moving forward, pointing to PepsiCo’s $3.2 billion purchase of Israel-based SodaStream in late 2018. I remain excited to see Bevi continue building a meaningful brand to serve all their customers. If you want to have it at your place, please request here.

BTW, can someone help me understand what this quote means “I can smell that you were the gibbon”?

SendBird, #1 Chat Platform for Apps and Websites, Raised $102M Series B. What’s Next?

SendBird, a complete chat platform with Messaging SDKs and Chat API, recently closed $102M Series B. $50M was announced in Feb. 2019 led by Iconiq Capital, which claims such big-name backers as Mark Zuckerberg. Another $52M Extension was announced in May 2019 led by Tiger Global Management. Existing investors Shasta Ventures, August Capital, Y Combinator and Funders Club also participated, and Zillionize invested in the seed round in March 2016.

The company has similar value propositions as Twilio for communications or Stripe for payments. It enables developers to integrate chat and messaging features into their mobile apps or websites with a couple of lines of code. With the new funding, SendBird will re-invest in their product, hiring, go-to-market, and is well positioned for more aggressive growth and International expansion to solidify their #1 leading position by number of users, revenue and growth rate (doubling and tripling)!

SendBird has very flexible, highly scalable, fully customizable, white label messaging capability. “We come with a fully managed infrastructure. So basically, you can log into any mobile applications or websites out there, and use our messaging capability.” company founder and CEO John Kim explained.

It is applicable in any application that requires communication, including gaming (like Nexon, Glu Mobile and Dream11), dating apps (like Hinge), on-demand delivery services (like GoJek and Delivery Hero), and marketplace (like Dubizzle) – any case where two people need to communicate quickly. SendBird’s other notable customers include Yahoo!, NBA, Managed by Q (WeWork), and KeepTruckin etc. all over the world.

Feel free to catch Bloomberg’s LIVE interview with CEO John Kim here on July 08, 2019. When asked about SendBird’s runway and if profitable, John commented, “We’ve been growing and operating very capital-efficiently so our runway could be 8 to 3 years, give or take. We can be profitable if we choose to, but we’ll reinvest so we are not profitable by choice. Our investors are very long-term thinking and would want to see us really dominate this market and continue to be the number 1, rather than turn a quick profit. In the foreseeable future, we are very financially stable. ” Doesn’t this remind you what Jeff Bezos always preaches? 🙂

In John’s spare time, apparently he thinks in much grander scheme like M&A to form new countries and test new systems. Well, after all, he’s already expanded SendBird offices from South Korea and Silicon Valley to London, Singapore and Bengaluru, so maybe one day, he’ll also take SendBird to Mars!