Ārepa Pushes New Zealand-made Nootropic Drink


Interest in brain health continues to be top of mind.

What’s happening: Ārepa, makers of a New Zealand-made plant-based nootropic drink, is readying for aggressive expansion, seeking to raise anywhere between $20M–$100M to secure its position in Australasia while entering 10 markets in 10 years, starting with the US.

An ambitious target, co-founder Angus Brown acknowledged the challenge ahead for the brand’s “brain drink”, even in its top markets:

“Our awareness in Australia is really low. We track it, and we’re only at about 3 or 4 per cent. So we know we basically need to make more people aware we exist.”

That low recognition, even after an investment from NBA star Steven Adams, could be because of the wealth of time spent in the performance lab concocting a proprietary beverage with antioxidants, energy-boosting amino acids, and blood flow-enhancing pine bark extract.

Backstopping its IP with clinical research, Ārepa claims to increase productivity and performance while slowing cognitive decline. The company also recently landed a $700K grant from Dementia Research Foundation Australia to investigate the drink’s impact on age-related cognitive impairments.

Why it matters: Brain care and mental health aren’t the same. For the former, the ability to hack, optimise or simply boost brain function is appealing as consumers strive to live healthier in an increasingly busier world. And from nootropics and functional mushrooms to the gut-brain axis, the movement is taking many forms.

  • Beyond, a mental performance drink from the UK, entered British superstores this year.
  • Australian startup Yootropics, maker of daily powdered cognitive performance mixes, gained approval as a therapeutic treatment ahead of entering Taiwan and China.
  • MOSH, founded by Patrick Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver, announced a $3M Series A to scale retail presence of its brain-boosting protein bars.
  • Swiss biotech startup KetoSwiss, maker of a migraine-fighting cocktail under the Brain Ritual brand, secured $4.8M and will pursue treatments for other neurological diseases.

Takeaway: Awareness and uptake is a challenge for many players in the brain health sector. The sophistication of the market lends well to high-performers but not necessarily the mass market, as many consumers don’t know the first step in proper brain care. A moat of sorts, Ārepa’s diligence in first proving it works bodes well for its long-term marketing plan.

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