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Aaron Judge, Lexi Thompson, Bryson DeChambeau Among Investors In A SHOC Energy Drink’s $29 Million Series B Round

New York Yankees' Aaron Judge during the first inning of a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays Tuesday, April 12, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) ASSOCIATED PRESS

A SHOC Energy, an energy drink that’s distributed nationally by Keurig Dr Pepper, has raised $29 million in a Series B funding round from a group that includes several current and former professional athletes.

New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge, golfers Lexi Thompson, Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka, Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman, Washington Commanders defensive end Chase Young, professional skateboarder Paul Rodriguez, NASCAR driver Chase Elliott and Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Strahan are among the investors in the latest round.

Keurig Dr Pepper, A SHOC co-founder Lance Collins and 7-Ventures, LLC, the venture arm of the 7-Eleven convenience store chain, also participated in the round. Those three were the sole investors when the company raised its only other funding when the company launched in 2019.

Paul Nadel, A SHOC’s chief executive, would not disclose the post-money valuation of the company. He noted that A SHOC originally targeted an $18 million Series B round, but that increased as interest in the company exceeded expectations.

Nadel added that sometimes athletes and investors do not have to invest any of their own money in exchange for a stake in startups and even are paid for their ownership stakes as companies view it as a marketing tool, but that was not the case with A SHOC. The company has only one class of shares and the per-share price was the same for all investors, according to Nadel.

“In my experience, big-name celebrities and athletes usually get checks for participating in deals like this,” Nadel said. “I understand that because their name is a halo, their name brings value. That wasn’t a possibility in this case. No one was offered or given any kind of promote, any extra shares, any lower price.”

He added: “I think that shows the interest level people had in us, that they truly were interested. They weren’t doing it because they were getting some better deal than others. It shows also the commitment they have. They put in real money at a real valuation. I’m really proud of that.”

A SHOC was founded in April 2019 by Collins and Scot De Lorme. Collins had previously founded several beverage brands, including Fuze Beverage, which the Coca-Cola KO Co. acquired in 2007 reportedly for $225 million to $250 million; Core Nutrition, LLC, which Keurig Dr Pepper bought in 2018 for $525 million; and BodyArmor, which Coca-Cola acquired last year in a deal that valued the sports drink company at about $6.6 billion.

De Lorme, meanwhile, was a beverage industry veteran who was most recently the vice president of innovation at Monster Energy, a leading energy drink company.

Collins and De Lorme positioned A SHOC as a healthy alternative to Monster Energy, Rockstar, Red Bull and other energy drinks. A SHOC has no sugar or preservatives and has natural caffeine.

Since its launch, A SHOC has been available across the United States, thanks to the company’s master distribution agreement with Keurig Dr Pepper. That deal gave the company a head start that other startup brands don’t have in competing against Monster Energy, which is part-owned by Coca-Cola, and Rockstar, which is owned by PepsiCo PEP , Inc.

“The advantage was on Day 1, we were national,” said Nadel, the former chief executive of Core Nutrition as well as an ex-corporate lawyer, venture capital fund manager and basketball agent. “On Day 1, we had Keurig’s 20,000 people thinking and talking and pitching A SHOC, which is an unbelievable advantage.”

A SHOC is currently available in about 80,000 retail locations across the U.S., including 7-Eleven, CVS, Walmart WMT and Target TGT , according to Nadel. The company sells its original A SHOC energy drink and A SHOC Accelerator drink that was launched earlier this year.

A SHOC has a sponsorship deal with NASCAR driver Chase Elliott and his Hendrick Motorsports team as well as with Thrill One Sports & Entertainment, an action sports company that owns the Nitro Circus, Street League Skateboarding and Nitro Rallycross brands and hosts more than 80 events per year. The deal with Thrill One began this year and was for more than $10 million and for multiple years.

Nadel noted that A SHOC has a so-called “path to ownership deal” with Keurig Dr Pepper, which gives the company the option to fully acquire A SHOC down the road.

“I think this was done in anticipation of at some point (KDP) acquiring us,” Nadel said. “There’s nothing certain to that, but KDP does not have a large energy brand. Coke has Monster, Pepsi has Rockstar.”

He added: “Hopefully that will be the next chapter of this story at some point. Hopefully we’ll be that (energy drinks) brand for KDP. That would be the goal, for sure, to give them a very strong energy play, and we would be it.”

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