NOD, which stands for No Ordinary Drink, a new beverage company headquartered in Shanghai, China announced the closing of its pre-A round of fundraising. The amount is not disclosed.
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One Capital (ONE) served as the lead investor, with follow-on investments from Mr. Lee Hsien Yang (ex-Chairman of Fraser & Neave, owner of Tiger Beer and F&N beverages) and Mr. Koh Boon Hwee (ex-Chairman of Yeo Hiap Seng).
“We are truly excited to secure an investment from such a renowned brand as One Capital. Their expertise in the consumer segment will serve us in good stead going forward,” says Chris Tay, CEO of NOD.
ONE is one of China’s early-stage venture capital firms. ONE has invested in multiple emerging iconic brands in China; most notably Flow, and Coco 100, T11 among others.
ONE says, “NOD is a dynamic company with expertise in both the offline and online sector. What attracted us to NOD was the team’s diversified experience-set and proven savvy across multiple disciplines. This, coupled with their considerable channel and R&D resources is a combination that we rarely see at such an early stage. Their conviction and speed to market in such a short space of time reflects this. We believe NOD being the first brand in China to focus on Stevia as a natural sugar substitute to capitalise on the growing natural and healthy trend can be a game changer in the beverage industry.”
With this fresh round of funding, NOD will be able to manufacture larger volumes as well as develop new products to fulfil the market’s dynamic needs. Whilst NOD is positioned as an Asia Pacific brand, its core market is still China.
“Made in China brands are now leading the way in terms of quality and design. We aim to bring this to Asia Pacific soon. Millennials in China are setting the trends when it comes to consumption; and these trends are changing quickly. Needless to say; we must stay ahead of the curve and develop good tasting drinks that meet their ever-evolving taste preferences. Creating consumer experiences that not only connect with them on a cultural level, but also stand out from the crowd will be critical to our success. We firmly believe there is the opportunity to differentiate given the category’s penchant for follow the leader syndrome in terms of product concepts and marketing communications. Our pioneering commitment to Stevia to ensure our sugar free waters taste naturally great is one such example,” says Lobin Tjia, CMO and co-founder of NOD.
NOD was seed-funded by Chris Tay and its founding team members, as well as a few well-known individual investors. Founded in January 2021, NOD raised a seed round investment from Pre-IPO Capital (a Jiangxi government fund), and several prominent individuals such as Mr. Lee Hsien Yang and Mr. Koh Boon Hwee. NOD also counts Mr. Michael Ma, current CEO of NBA China as its shareholder. A key component driving NOD is its team, comprising of ex-Publicis Ad Agency China GM, Lobin Tjia and Jing Kai, ex GM for Pure Circle, a leading global sugar replacement company.
“Chris wanted a blend of mostly young people and some senior ones to form an agile, yet experienced team also equipped with international experience to tackle both the Chinese and Southeast Asian markets,” says Mr. Koh Boon Hwee.
“Over the next year, NOD hopes to add 2 new category lines to our portfolio: sparkling natural fruit juice, and tea drinks in addition to our core proposition of sugar free flavored waters. We want to focus on these 3 key product lines and not churn out products just for the sake of filling shelf space; a strategy adopted by many new brands. Our belief is that by staying focused on what we are good at, and delivering consumer-centric innovation, we will achieve brand excellence. Our core competence is rooted in our R&D and sales channel expertise, supported by innovative offline and online marketing with a particular emphasis on social media. This enables us to gain a competitive advantage in speed to market launching differentiated product offerings, which we believe is an important ingredient to be successful here. The ability to develop and test proprietary products in-house versus pre-packaged third-party solutions is one such enabler,” says Tay.
Mr. Lee Hsien Yang says, “NOD is an exciting company with a dynamic management team led by Chris Tay. He is knowledgeable, astute and energetic, and I am excited to be able to back the team in this venture.”
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Founded in Shanghai in January 2021, NOD focuses on providing innovative beverage solutions. The brand now has listings with the top 3 convenience store chains in China covering more than 4500 stores. The company’s management team has a combined FMCG management experience of over 100 years, having worked in brands like Master Kong, AB InBev, Unilever, Family Mart, Dicos, Dairy Queen and Yoshinoya.