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AKUA

AKUA

Growth Stage

Incredible meat + seafood alternatives made from ocean-farmed seagreens

Incredible meat + seafood alternatives made from ocean-farmed seagreens

Overview

Raised this Round: Raised: $276,966

Total Commitments ($USD)

Platform

Republic

Start Date

05/22/2023

Close Date

10/16/2023

Min. Goal
$25,000
Max. Goal
$618,000
Min. Investment

$100

Security Type

SAFE

Series

Series A

SEC Filing Type

RegCF    Open SEC Filing

Early Bird Val. Cap

$15,000,000

Valuation Cap

$16,000,000

Discount

0%

Year Founded

2016

Industry

Food, Beverage, & Restaurants

Tech Sector

Non-Tech

Distribution Model

B2B/B2C

Margin

Low

Capital Intensity

Low

Location

Brooklyn, New York

Business Type

Growth

AKUA, with a valuation of $16 million, is raising funds on Republic. It is a meat-alt company that uses technology to make nutrient-dense, sustainable, and regenerative food. The products of AKUA are rich in protein and made from ocean-farmed kelp. AKUA products, including the Kelp Jerky, are already available in over 800 stores across the US and have generated $1.45 million in lifetime sales. Courtney Boyd Myers founded AKUA in December 2016. The current crowdfunding campaign has a minimum target of $25,000 and a maximum target of $618,000. The campaign proceeds will be used for the retail launch of the Kelp Patty SpongeBob licensed SKU set.

Summary Profit and Loss Statement

FY 2022 FY 2021

Revenue

$508,885

$450,947

COGS

$386,157

$296,245

Tax

$0

$0

 

 

Net Income

$-2,100,750

$-1,099,976

Summary Balance Sheet

FY 2022 FY 2021

Cash

$1,399,433

$3,549,911

Accounts Receivable

$60,536

$6,764

Total Assets

$1,863,295

$3,976,787

Short-Term Debt

$84,673

$373,327

Long-Term Debt

$1,070,000

$835,000

Total Liabilities

$1,154,673

$1,208,327

Financials as of: 05/22/2023
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Raise History

Offering Name Close Date Platform Valuation/Cap Total Raised Security Type Status Reg Type
AKUA 10/15/2023 Republic $16,000,000 $276,966 SAFE Funded RegCF
AKUA 04/23/2021 Republic $7,000,000 $1,070,000 SAFE Funded RegCF
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Revenue History

Note: Revenue data points reflect the latest of either the most recent fiscal year's financials, or updated revenues directly from the founder, at each raise's close date.

Valuation History

Price per Share History

Note: Share prices shown in earlier rounds may not be indicative of any stock splits.

Employee History

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Overview

The plant-based meat alternative market is as crowded as it is diverse. Over 800 brands worldwide sell plant-based meat alternatives, including 60 brands making more than $500,000 in sales in the United States. So I didn’t expect to find another innovation in such a busy market. But AKUA invented a one-of-its-kind plant-based meat alternative, which pleasantly surprised me. The brand sells kelp-based vegan burgers, ground meat, and crab cakes. It is the first company to sell meat alternatives with algae in the United States. And it’s delicious.

AKUA demonstrated a great marketing strategy by partnering with Nickelodeon and collaborating with social media influencers. Despite a small revenue growth last year, AKUA’s founder and CEO Courtney Boyd Meyers learned from the company’s previous performance and is cutting costs while growing AKUA’s sales channels. For these reasons, AKUA is a Top Deal.

Next Section: Price

Price

AKUA is raising on Republic through Crowd SAFE at a $16 million valuation. This is lower than companies from various industries raising online with a similar revenue of around $500,000, with an average valuation of $21.9 million. However, AKUA’s revenue-to-valuation multiple of 30x is higher than the median multiple of 13x in the food industry. Additionally, the company has no specific patents or assets to justify this valuation. Overall, AKUA is slightly overvalued.

Investors backing the company at this valuation still have a chance to see the company give them a 10x return on their investment. Indeed, acquisitions in the meat alternative space range from $8 million to $10 billion. Therefore, AKUA will have to grow its annual revenue to a minimum of $15-20 million and strengthen its branding to get a chance to exit at a valuation giving a great return to investors.

Next Section: Market

Market

The meat-alternative market is highly competitive and crowded. There are at least 800 brands in the world selling plant-based meat alternatives, including 60 brands with more than $500,000+ in sales in the US. This market is not a winner-take-it-all space. Small brands can make it and acquire customers interested in “alternative” and “healthy” options.

Indeed, 10-15% of Americans identify as vegetarian or vegan in the US. Omnivores and flexitarians also consume plant-based meat alternatives. All these consumers are looking for products with great tastes, but many are fine eating meat alternatives that do not look like meat. The market is still growing, but it is not benefiting from the hype of the last couple of years anymore when plant-based meat alternatives were often present in the media, and many customers tried these products for the first time.

Next Section: Team

Team

Courtney Boyd Myers is the CEO and founder of AKUA. She previously launched an accelerator program between London and New York. Then, she launched a non-profit related to seaweed where she had the time to understand the algae supply chain in Massachusetts. This helped her launch AKUA.

I had the chance to talk with Courtney and understand she is a scrappy founder. She didn’t pay herself for the first three years of her business, and she doesn’t hesitate to go above and beyond to acquire customers. She recently drove to dozens of restaurants in Long Island over the weekend to distribute samples and called restaurants back the following Monday to try to get sales. It’s reassuring for investors to know that Courtney is innovative and can work hard to get the startup’s product to potential customers. She has the skills needed for any entrepreneur innovating in the crowded meat alternative market.

The rest of AKUA’s team is great for this type of business, with mostly marketing and operations employees. This is both what this company needs and explains its high $120-150k burn rate.

Next Section: Differentiators

Differentiators

AKUA is the only algae-based meat alternative in the United States today. Lacking direct competitors is both an advantage and an inconvenience for the company. It is a positive thing that it can drive interest and curiosity from new adopters. The lack of competition will prevent AKUA’s customers from switching to another brand. On the other hand, it also means that most customers have never heard of algae-based meat alternatives. AKUA will have to convince stores to sell its products and educate customers who may or may notalready incorporate algae in their diet. This can mean that AKUA will have to spend more on marketing than other brands to acquire customers. It can also slow its revenue growth.

AKUA’s products contain simple and recognizable ingredients that give it an advantage over the competition as it has a lower fat amount and a healthier composition. AKUA is also different from many competitors as it offers crab cakes, ground meat and burger patties, so it plays both on the meat and seafood alternative sides. AKUA’s crab cakes cost $4.99 for 6 oz. This is more expensive than Omni’s vegan crab cakes at $2.29 for 5.29 oz but cheaper than Mind Blown $12.99 crab cakes for 6 oz. On the burger side, at $4.5 per burger patty, AKUA’s burgers are about twice more expensive than Beyond’s meat-imitation patties. The company’s high-priced products target an educated population that not only knows about meat alternatives but also knows about seaweed and its benefits.

Next Section: Performance

Performance

AKUA’s revenue grew 12.8% between 2021 and 2022, from $450,940 to $508,885. This seems small at first, but it is expected that AKUA’s innovative product will take time to sell. The US seaweed market is only worth $11 million and growing at a 4.7% CAGR. This means that AKUA itself added about +5% of the US seaweed consumption by using it in meat alternatives.

The company also closed a partnership with Nickelodeon to use Sponge Bob on its kids-targeted product’s packages. It is a very smart move. Sponge Bob’s brand will be easily recognized by shoppers and help get the AKUA brand known. It will bring trust from shoppers and desire to try the product. Kids may even push parents to buy, and the familiarity will make parents feel “safe” about giving a new product and an alternative meat to their kids.

Next Section: Bearish Outlook

Bearish Outlook

Investing in AKUA involves a few risks. The company’s revenue grew slowly last year. This brings an adoption risk in the American market. The company also wants to grow in Asia in the near future. This will involve additional spending and risks. Will AKUA succeed in launching an American product in countries where seaweed is already a common product? This will depend on the quality of the partnerships it could tie with local brands and distributors.

AKUA also has financial risk. The company burned around $2 million last year. Even though Courtney assured us that the company reduced its burn, AKUA still relies heavily on external funding.

Next Section: Bullish Outlook

Bullish Outlook

AKUA is a unique product in the American market. While it could be difficult to sell, AKUA found the right strategy by associating its brand with the Nickolodeon’s Sponge Bob SquarePants brand. It is relevant to attract families and help customers make purchase decisions in stores.

AKUA’s product is in line with the current trends of vegan and healthy foods that are growing in the United States, especially among younger generations. The company’s founder and CEO, Courtney Boyd Meyers, is scrappy and has a good understanding of the seaweed supply chain in Massachusetts. At a $16 million valuation cap, investors have a chance to get a return on their investment since acquisitions in the meat alternative space range from $8 million to $10 billion.

Next Section: Conclusion

Conclusion

It’s not too late for investors who want to invest in the alternative meat space. The market is still growing at a 23.9% annual rate. AKUA is the opportunity to back a startup with a different recipe. While this new idea presents adoption risk, if it works, it could bring higher returns to investors than a plant-based meat alternative company struggling to achieve differentiation. AKUA’s partnership with Nickelodeon could help it target customers beyond the vegetarian and vegan niches. The scrappiness of Courtney Boyd Meyers is also an asset. Last but not least, AKUA patties are delicious. And I’m sure that Mr. Krab would make even more money if he started selling them in his Bikini Bottom fast food.

Founder Profile

AKUA Founder Courtney Boyd Myers on Creating Sustainable Kelp-Based Foods

You’ve heard of veggie burgers -- from Boca Burger to Beyond Meat to Impossible Foods. Now get ready for kelp burgers. 

AKUA produces meat and seafood alternatives from ocean-farmed kelp. The U.S.-based ocean farmers AKUA works to grow kelp without fertilizer or pesticides -- and without land or fresh water. That’s a major sustainable point in its favor. Kelp also sequesters large amounts of carbon dioxide and nitrogen, which helps mitigate the effects of ocean acidification. As a result, AKUA’s products are both healthy and good for the planet.

KingsCrowd spoke with AKUA founder Courtney Boyd Myers to learn about the inspiration for the company and its colorful, fun-loving brand.

Note: This interview was conducted over phone and email. It has been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Read Founder Interview

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AKUA on Republic 2023
Platform: Republic
Security Type: SAFE
Valuation: $16,000,000

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