If I wasn’t such a professional, impartial journalist, I might shed a small tear of joy for BEERMKR. I’ve been writing about the company since 2018 when it launched on Kickstarter, and continued to follow them through trade shows, COVID-related production delays, and finally with a full product review last fall. And now the company has launched an equity crowdfunding campaign, but will also be pitching to the investors on Shark Tank tonight. Li’l BEERMKR is all grown up.
Unlike traditional home brewing, BEERMKR doesn’t require the mess and complications of buckets and bottles and hoses. Instead, it’s a connected, all-in-one countertop beer fermenting, brewing and dispensing system. The accompanying mobile app tells you when to add your ingredients, and the BEERMKR controls all the agitation, temperature control and resting. I had never brewed beer before in my life and was able to make a delicious stout on my very first try, which prompted me to add BEERMKR to our Spoon Holiday Gift Guide.
We obviously don’t know yet if the Sharks will bite upon hearing BEERMKR’s pitch, but the company is hoping everyday investors will. BEERMKR is looking to raise roughly $1 million through equity crowdfunding on the StartEngine platform, and as of this writing has already raised more than $122,000 in its first day. BEERMKR has a good track record when it comes to crowdfunding, having raised nearly $400,000 on Kickstarter to put the BEERMKR into production. (And unlike other beer-related crowdfunded hardware, it actually made it to market.)
Equity crowdfunding is becoming quite a trend in the food tech world. Companies like Piestro, Future Acres, Blendid and GoSun have all conducted equity crowdfunding campaigns. Raising capital from traditional VCs comes with the pressure to scale and deliver a return on the VC’s investment in a relatively timely manner. Startups that choose that equity crowdfunding route mitigate that scaling and time pressure. However, using equity crowdfunding also means companies don’t necessarily get access to the institutional knowledge and connections that could help them run their businesses more efficiently.
I reached out to BEERMKR CEO Aaron Walls this morning to ask him why they opted for equity crowdfunding, and this is what he emailed back:
We’ve done traditional financings and we’ve done kickstarters, but this is our first equity crowdfund. As we began investigating, it became evident that our company was uniquely positioned to execute an equity crowdfunding campaign. First, we have a large install base of happy customers, many of whom have reached out prior to this campaign and asked if they could invest in our company. Second, with as many kickstarters as we’ve done, we have the internal processes in place to work through the crowdfunding dynamics. Lastly, our category of alcoholic beverages does very well with crowdfunding. It’s a category that you don’t need an advanced degree to fully understand the full potential. From our standpoint we felt it was worth the effort to see how well it performs. The worst case scenario? We can always go back to raising capital the old fashioned way, but given the first day success, it looks like we won’t have to!
Walls also said that BEERMKR is only raising $1 million because that is a limit set by the SEC based on the makeup of the company.
I didn’t ask him whether Mark Cuban is now an investor, but I’ll be watching Shark Tank tonight and maybe there there will be one little happy tear for Walls and his team.