A million cans a month might have sounded like a staggering amount of Mati Energyone year ago.
But that was before the healthy energy drink’s creator Tatiana Birgisson won Google Demo Day and the resulting national media attention, before she secured $1.35 million in investment and a deal with Anheuser-Busch distributor Harris Beverages and before she negotiated to open her own 30,000-square-foot production facility.
[On Monday], a batch of Tropical Mati was set to be brewed, mixed, fermented and carbonated using the same process that’s made the beverage fly off the shelves of Whole Foods stores across the Southeast. But rather than relying on workers at Triangle Brewing Company and another production facility, they’ll be produced by Mati’s own employees just 40 miles southeast of Durham in Clayton, N.C.
The move is perhaps the most significant in the history of the young company, which began in Birgisson’s Duke University dorm room in 2012 as a cure for her depression. Birgisson describes the last year as the climb to the top of a hill on a roller coaster. Now, Mati is “plummeting downward at incredible speeds that are exhilarating and scary,” she says, all while anticipating the next ride.
Meanwhile, Birgisson is an up-and-comer in an industry that continues to be a darling of investors. Funding to food and beverage startups grew 60 percent from 2014 to 2015, hitting a record (since Dow Jones VentureSource started tracking in 1992) $603 million.
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