German scale-up with more than two million customers and backed by PepsiCo, Ashton Kutcher, and Guy Oseary sets out to change the way Americans hydrate.
SANTA MONICA, Calif., June 28, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- air up®, the scent-flavored hydration company that has taken Europe by storm, announces its entry into the United States today. Founded by five passionate visionaries: Tim Jäger, Lena Jüngst, Fabian Schlang, Jannis Koppitz, and Simon Nüesch, the team reimagines what it means to experience flavor by harnessing the power of German-engineering and design and breakthrough science.
air up® launched in Germany in 2019 and rapidly expanded into nine European countries, including Germany, Austria, France, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and the U.K. Since its inception, air up® has brought on an experienced business and growth expert, Christian Hauth, as Co-CEO; reached more than two million customers; and expanded the global organization to nearly 300 talented individuals.
To put it simply, air up® is a revolutionary, refillable drinking system that transforms the taste of plain water through the power of scent. We often think of taste as something that we perceive with our tongues; in reality, the tongue is only responsible for a portion of our taste experience—the majority comes from our olfactory receptors, where the brain interprets scents as flavor (as opposed to smell). Science calls this concept "retronasal smell," which, in layman's terms, translates to tasting with the nose. The never-before-seen drinking system transports carefully-crafted flavors through the mouth, triggering said effect—so the body sips plain water, while the brain "tastes" flavor.
As for the impetus? Necessity is the mother of invention, and air up®'s origin story is no different. Despite the well-established scientific consensus that adequate hydration is essential for supporting overall health and wellbeing, when it comes to execution, the evidence is clear: A staggering 75% of Americans remain chronically dehydrated—hence air up®'s mission to make plain H2O the easiest and most exciting choice, sans sugar, calories, or any of the traditional additives found in conventional flavored drinks.
"We developed the initial prototype as part of our college thesis after uncovering that our unhealthy craving for sugar is connected to our perception of flavor," explains Lena Jüngst, cofounder of air up®. "So, we created a unique mechanism that helps you drink more plain (tap) water by simulating flavor through scent, without having to add all the unhealthy additives in traditional flavored beverages."
She adds, "It's been an incredible journey to date. We've seen meteoric growth and excitement around the brand in Europe, and we know our drinking system presents a much-needed solution to the U.S. hydration problem. We're thrilled to shift the way Americans consume water through scent-flavored hydration and look forward to seeing where this next chapter takes us."
The brand has raised upwards of €60 million in capital to-date, which has been used to accelerate expansion across Europe (and into the U.S.), extend the existing product portfolio, and establish top-notch production facility collaborations to serve consumers across the globe. As of 2022, air up® investors include PepsiCo Inc., Ashton Kutcher, and Guy Oseary, in addition to Five Seasons Ventures, Ippen Media, Oyster Bay Venture Capital, Freigeist Capital, and additional German business angel investors.
"I was intrigued by the depth of research, science, and engineering that went into reimagining the hydration experience, and after trying it for myself, realized air up® was onto something brilliant," shares Ashton Kutcher, an investor in the company. "Now, with the brand coming to the U.S., I believe American consumers are going to love it."
Available in 10 flavors—from classics like Lemon and Cucumber to layered options like Orangeade and Mango-Passion Fruit—air up®'s selection of flavor pods has a pick for every palate, with more on the way. air up®-branded flavor pods and bottles can be purchased directly at air-up.com, with prices starting at $39.99 for a Starter Set that includes a bottle and a pack of 3 flavor pods. Consumers can also purchase any pack of 3 standalone flavor pods starting at $7.99.
About air up®:
air up® is the world's first refillable drinking system that adds flavor to water through scent alone. Since the launch in Europe in July 2019, air up® has grown into a company that operates in 10 countries, has nearly 300 employees, and enjoys a customer base in the millions. Even better: By our calculations, air up®'s revolutionary, refillable technology has perhaps saved up to 130 million single-use plastic bottles—not to mention 2,600 tons of sugar.
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