Kikoko has closed an $8 million round of Series A funding led by Bengal Capital. Series A funding is the first round of financing that a startup business receives from a venture capital firm.
FlowKana, Kikoko’s distributor and supply chain partner, also participated in the round, which brings Kikoko’s total funding to $14 million to date. The funding follows a breakout year in which the company’s signature tea products propelled Kikoko to the No. 1 position in California cannabis beverage sales (BDS Analytics).
“We are very excited to align ourselves with Kikoko, a company founded by women that is creating health and wellness solutions for women,” said Sanjay Tolia, a partner at Bengal Capital. “Kikoko has proven hugely successful thus far, and we’re thrilled to assist them in their next phase of growth.”
Established in 2015, Kikoko has set the standard for cannabis botanical wellness products. A women-founded, women-centric company, Kikoko’s cannabis-infused herbal teas, and HoneyShots, and other, soon-to-be-released cannabis-infused botanical products, offer consumers sensibly dosed alternatives to pharmaceuticals and alcohol. Formulated to address issues with sleep, stress, pain, anxiety, libido, mood and focus, Kikoko’s products are made with organically sun-grown cannabis, organic adaptogenic herbs, and pure New Zealand Manuka honey.
“When we started Kikoko, there was no momentum in the cannabis industry around women, beverages or wellness,” said Jennifer Chapin, co-founder, and co-CEO of Kikoko. “We saw an opening for innovation and leadership, and an opportunity to own the women’s market and create our own category. We chose tea as our anchor product; we knew that if we could succeed with tea, we could succeed with other products.”
Chapin’s premonition was correct. According to BDS, Kikoko has led cannabis beverage sales in California for five straight quarters, with sales dominated by female consumers. The success of the tea is closely mirrored by the robust sales of Kikoko’s new HoneyShots, a line of products that will see statewide distribution in October 2019.
“Kikoko is built on the premise of staying true to our beliefs and doing business the women’s way,” said Amanda Jones, the other co-founder and co-CEO of Kikoko. “As a women-led company, Kikoko is uniquely positioned to create efficacious products that address women’s wellness, and design and package products in a beautiful way for women to notice, listen and give themselves permission to try.”
Kikoko is also stepping up as a leader in sustainable packaging, something not often seen in the cannabis industry. The company has pledged that by Q1 2020, all packaging will be compostable or recyclable to every extent possible. In addition, whenever possible all ingredients in Kikoko’s products are organic, non-GMO and fair-trade — in keeping with Kikoko’s credo, which states in part: “We won’t sell anything we wouldn’t put into our own bodies, and we won’t put anything in packaging that will be on the planet in perpetuity.”
With the new capital, Kikoko will continue to build its team, launch new wellness products, deepen retail relationships and build out its direct-to-consumer sales platform. This latest round of funding will also assist the company in reaching its goal of having the healthiest and most environmentally sustainable cannabis products on the market.
“We take pride in our partnership with Kikoko, an incredible Bay Area company with whom we share a vision of the future,” said Michael Steinmetz, CEO, and co-founder of Flow Kana. “The opportunity for California to create the gold standard for a sustainable cannabis industry is grand, and the responsibility to do so even grander. We are so honored to support Kikoko’s continued growth, as well as its dedication to this mission.”