Liquid Death, the canned water startup that briefly became an object of fascination and derision in May for its aggressively hardxcore and violence-tinged branding that includes the tagline “murder your thirst,” is reportedly negotiating to raise up to $10 million in Series A funding.
The fundraising talks, which were first reported by Axios and confirmed by Insider, come just two months after the company obtained $1.6 million in seed funding, backed by incubator Science Inc. and investors like entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuck, Dollar Shave Club’s Michael Dubin, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, and Jen Rubio of the luggage startup Away. Not including the $10 million in potential Series A funding, Liquid Death founder and CEO Mike Cessario — a former Netflix creative director — has raised $2.25 million for the startup to date.
The criticism leveled at Liquid Death has been multifold, with some taking issue with its sexist messaging (Cessario once made a somewhat disparaging comment about how other water brands speak to “Whole Foods yoga moms”), and others with the double standard of who receives millions in funding. Cessario, in an interview with the publication the New Consumer, acknowledged the backlash, claiming that he “thinks” women might be the brand’s “fastest growing segment” of customers, and promising that the brand will never have “bikini clad girls that go around giving out cans” like some energy-drink companies do. So generous.
Defenders of Liquid Death would point out that the product, which comes in tallboy aluminum cans, is much more environmentally friendly than water in plastic bottles, most of which end up in landfills or the ocean after being discarded. And, as Axios notes, the idea may sound ridiculous, but “no sillier than water in plastic bottles, which generated $18.5 billion in 2017 revenue.”
As for Liquid Death’s water itself, the consensus from an Eater taste test is: It’s … fine. Tastes like water, with a hint of metal.