Providing a clean-label alternative to traditional energy drinks
Plant Press is a clean caffeine beverage that is available in Grapefruit Ginger, Passionfruit Peach, and Watermelon flavors. The idea for the brand came when Farahani was studying to become a neuroscientist and wanted a healthier energy drink than what was currently available on the market.
“As we saw from the showdown, there's quite a few energy beverages in the energy categories... What [Plant Press] stands for is really something novel in the energy category, where it's really simple. Each can is equivalent to having a cup of coffee and caffeine content, and it's really made as that replacement for that second cup of coffee for people who are drinking coffee or matcha and not really touching traditional energy drinks because they're more health-conscious and not gravitating towards the chemicals or artificial sugars that exist in traditional energy drinks on the shelves right now.”
When it comes to delivering clean-label taste and sweetness, Plant Press uses a combination of agave and monk fruit, which provide a small amount of sugar but avoids artificial alternatives.
“Plant press is actually 20 calories, and three grams of sugar that come from the agave, so we use a blend of agave and monk fruit predominantly as a sweetener, and the way I see it is 20 calories is better than zero,” Farahani said. “In my eyes, I'd rather use a little bit of the real deal that isn’t affecting your health in order to keep it tasty but also still low calorie.”
What it takes to raise your first seed round
Last month, Plant Press announced it had raised $1.2m in a seed round, which will go towards building out the brand's team and expand its portfolio and distribution, Farahani noted. When asked about the advice she’d give to beverage startups that are looking to raise a round, she recommended that founders take the opportunity to learn from the industry and not be afraid to ask questions about the process.
“The thing that gave me the most knowledge was talking to people rather than reading about it online,” Farahani said. “It was really learning from other people’s experiences and asking a lot of questions [and] ... listening because I went from someone who didn't know the first thing about the instruments used to fundraise and how to even talk to investors, and it was learning from people who have been in my shoes before and done it that really changed the game for me.”