The company will be selling its sleek, environmentally friendly water carafes and filters in Williams Sonoma, and has raised another $2.2 million in financing as it rolls out across the U.S.
The round was led by Crosscut Ventures and included all of the company’s previous investors Baseline Ventures and Forerunner Ventures along with Lerer Ventures, Collaborative Fund, Cowboy Ventures, Vast Ventures, Mindful Investors, The 4-Hour Workweek’s Tim Ferriss, Coca-Cola’s Rohan Oza, and Sukhinder Singh Cassidy of JOYUS.
Interestingly, Soma also decided to give back to the crowdfunding community that launched it on Kickstarter it by turning to the crowd-financing platform CircleUp, for a $400,000 piece of the latest financing.
“We wanted to do something around crowdfunding, ended up doing $400,000, and had to turn it off,” says Soma chief executive Mike Del Ponte. “I didn’t know how successful CircleUp was going to be and, to be honest, we could have raised half the round from CircleUp.”
Equity crowdfunding platforms for accredited investors are springing up all over the world. From OurCrowd in Israel, to AngelList in Silicon Valley, and new sites like the New York-based Ingress Capital.
Del Ponte advocates that using the new equity crowdfunding platforms can be a way to push investors who may be on the fence about making a commitment to take the initial plunge. “One of the conversations I’ve been having with a lot of founders is that many investors say ‘Go find a lead and then come back and talk to me.’ But you get so much traction on CircleUp that it pushes them to make a commitment.”
That logic didn’t apply to Soma, which was already floating on clear waters with a clutch of marquee early stage investment names from both New York and the Bay Area, and already had significant traction and press in the wake of its Kickstarter campaign and nice-sized seed round.
Del Ponte says the money will go towards new product development. “We feel like we’ve proven ourselves. We’re the only water filter built entirely with plant-based filters, which is a safer, more natural way to filter water.”
The company has changed its prices since its initial launch. The San Francisco-based company, which targets the eco-design set with glass carafes that can look as good on the table as in the fridge, initially charged $87 for a carafe and starter filter and $14.99 for replacement filters. Now, it charges $59 for its standard white carafe with one filer and each additional filter costs $12.99 customers can pre-pay for a slight discount.
One aspect of the company’s business that hasn’t changed is that Soma still donates money to charity: water, which funds clean water projects, with each filter purchase. Buying a special canary yellow filtered carafe will give the charity an additional $14.50.