Rahi Daneshmand, Virtue Founder and Entrepreneur.
Rahi Daneshmand, Virtue Founder and Entrepreneur.

‘Clean energy’ drink brand raises seven-figure funding to roll out across Waitrose

Virtue is a London based clean energy drink brand that has been disrupting the energy drinks sector since 2016. Founded in the UK by entrepreneur Rahi Daneshmand, the startup has amassed a cult following.

November 2023 sees Virtue launch a fresh new rebrand, featuring a stripped back aesthetic, an enhanced flavour profile, with a slightly tweaked and upgraded recipe that sees the full range include yerba mate.

Autumn also sees the startup brand roll out across Waitrose nationwide, where it will be included in the stores’ Meal Deal, as well as the launch of a new Virtue 12 Can Variety Pack to Amazon.

The drinks harness the power of yerba mate to create a more sustained and all-natural energy alternative to coffee and energy drinks. Virtue is made in the UK and is available in three varieties: Tropical, Peach & Raspberry and Strawberry & Lime.

Each of the Virtue contains 80mg of organic caffeine (similar to a cup of coffee), no sugar, no calories and nothing artificial, and they are now all super powered by yerba mate. Dubbed ‘the drink of the Gods’ yerba mate is an adaptogen naturally high in caffeine made from the dried leaves of the South American holly tree.

Yerba mate is said to have the energy of coffee, the health properties of tea and the feel-good endorphins of chocolate, it provides more antioxidants than green tea, as well as 24 vitamins and minerals, including riboflavin, thiamine, phosphorus, iron, calcium and vitamins C and B6 and 15 amino acids.

The brand lives by its blueprint of clean energy, clean conscience, clean planet, creating products that are not only better for people, but better for the planet. Virtue is certified Carbon Neutral, with 100 per cent organic caffeine, is vegan and contains nothing artificial.

Since inception, Virtue has achieved high profile backing, and the brand secured investment from English footballer Chris Smalling in 2021, supplemented by a recent raise of £1.2m in Autumn 2023, which will help to accelerate business growth, with further hires in sales and marketing, alongside driving key marketing activity to increase brand awareness.

Chris Smalling, professional footballer, and Virtue investor commented: “I joined Virtue as they are disrupting the energy drinks category, with clean energy drinks that support a truly healthy lifestyle, which as an athlete, is critical. From flavour to function, Virtue is game changing.”

Virtue has seen 462 per cent growth in international revenue in the last 12 months (Q3 FY23 vs Q3 FY22). Virtue is now sold in 35 countries, with over 15,000 distribution points globally, stockists include major international chains Casino, Carrefour and Aeon. The UK energy drinks market is worth £1.85bn and the desire for ‘better for you’ energy drinks is growing.

By Matthew Neville – Senior Correspondent, Bdaily

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