The term “white space” is often used by entrepreneurs as a reason for launching a new brand. A void exists in a particular food or beverage category, and founders will claim that their products fill it. But what if others, notably investors and retailers, don’t see that opportunity?
That’s the question that Shadi Bakour and his co-founders faced when they launched PATH, a bottled water brand that uses refillable aluminum containers, and it’s fair to say that they have answered the query.
Founded in 2015, PATH has become one of the fastest-growing beverage brands in the U.S. Its products – which include still, sparkling and alkaline varieties – are sold at over 50,000 retail locations nationwide, including CVS, 7-Eleven, Walmart, Target, Whole Foods, Sprouts and Wegmans. In September 2022, PATH announced a $30 million Series A funding round led by Altos Ventures along with investment from celebrities Kevin Hart, Ryan Seacrest and Guy Fieri.
In this episode, Bakour spoke about the inspiration for PATH and how he and his co-founders set about commercializing the concept, how he they won over retail buyers, beginning with 7-Eleven, the company’s alignment with San Francisco Airport retailers and Natural Products Expo West, the impact of limited-edition and licensed products and which parts of the business were most attractive to investors.
In this Episode
|0:48: Interview: Shadi Bakour, Co-Founder/CEO, PATH – Taste Radio editor Ray Latif spoke with Bakour about PATH’s collaboration with Barbie before he discussed lessons from his days as an Uber and Lyft driver, navigating the a rocky start with the company’s first co-manufacturer and how convenience factors into the marketability of PATH. He also spoke about how the brand landed its first few retailers, how he was able to negotiate an Expo West sponsorship at a reduced rate, PATH’s bottle as a billboard, and what he’s learned about becoming a better leader and manager of people.