PATH closes $30m Series A funding round to fuel global expansion and eliminate plastic waste
The recent funding was led by Altos Ventures, the company's largest investor to date, alongside Blue Investment Group; HartBeat Ventures, Kevin Hart’s venture fund; Ryan Seacrest; Guy Fieri; and Ninja, among others.
Launched in 2015, PATH has grown its distribution footprint to over 50,000 retail doors and formed partnerships with other organizations including The Sacramento Kings, Orange Theory Fitness, 1 Hotels, Alo Yoga, State Farm, and Yellowstone National Park to help reduce their single-use plastic bottled water use.
"This partnership [with Altos Ventures] brings the beverage industry and Silicon Valley together to usher in a new era of bottled water. This funding will accelerate our mission to bring the plastic crisis to the forefront and create a scalable platform for sustainability,” said PATH co-Founder & CEO Shadi Bakour.
"At Altos, we strive to lead by example by integrating sustainability in our investment and business practices. We hope that our partnership with PATH will encourage other organizations to follow in our footsteps," commented Ho Nam, managing director and co-founder of Altos Ventures.
The mounting issue of plastic waste
The World Economic Forum predicts that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the world's oceans with a huge contributor being single-use plastics. PATH's ultimate goal and mission is to eliminate the 10 billion plastic bottles going into landfills and oceans by 2025 by reducing consumers' reliance on single-use plastic with a more sustainable, reusable packaging alternative.
Collectively, Americans purchase about 50 billion single-use plastic water bottles per year. Using a PATH water bottle in place of a single-use plastic water bottle can save an average of 156 plastic bottles annually helping, according to the company.
As a recyclable material, the recycling rates of aluminum are almost twice the rate of plastic, according to PATH. In addition, the process of recycling, transportation, and distribution of aluminum has a significantly smaller footprint compared to other liquid packaging alternatives such as plastic and glass, the company claims.
"Aluminum is a much more highly valued commodity than plastic, therefore companies have more incentive to recycle and reuse that recycled material in future. Aluminum is infinitely recyclable, while plastic often gets downcycled, resulting in more waste," said the company.
PATH vs. the competition
Lightweight and affordable, PATH bottled water undergoes a 7-step reverse osmosis process and is enhanced with electrolytes. According to the company, the water comes from a "reputable source" based out of Montebello, Los Angeles.
In addition to its original still bottled water, the brand offers PATH Sparkling, a delicately carbonated beverage, and PATH Alkaline, which includes "specialty electrolytes" with a final pH of 9.5+.
Unlike other aluminum containers, PATH bottles are designed to be refilled and reused (the walls are thicker and more durable with a wide-mouth opening for easier drinking and water is kept cooler).
But unlike, more expensive insulated water bottles (Hydro-Flask, Yeti, Nalgene, etc.) PATH water bottles must be hand washed and can not go into the dishwasher, said the company.
Scaling production and distribution
The recent funding will go towards scaling the production of PATH water bottles. The company recently expanded its production on the East Coast with new production lines in North Carolina to meet growing nationwide demand.
The funding will also be used to significantly expand the company's distribution over the next 12 to 18 months into non-chain and independent retailers both nationally in the US and globally. PATH has entered into major retailers including CVS, 7/11, Walmart, and Costco Business Centers.
Other top retailers of the brand included Whole Foods Market, Sprouts, Rite Aid, Circle K, and Wegmans.
In an effort to teach more consumers about the mission of PATH and the larger issue of plastic waste, the company will be expanding its brand ambassador program encouraging more consumers to use and refill a PATH water bottle.
"The Series A funding will also allow PATH to achieve its goal of being more than just a water bottle brand, but a company that has an end-to-end solution for the sustainability crisis around the world," said the company.