Baron Davis is hoping to strike gold again. The two-time NBA All-Star was an early investor in Vitaminwater, cashing out after it was sold to Coca-Cola for $4.1 billion in 2007.
More than 10 years later, Davis is investing in Kitu Super Coffee, an organic ready-to-drink coffee beverage with zero sugar, 10 grams of protein and MCT oil—the latter can quickly be absorbed by the body and turned into energy.
“This is very similar to the opportunity with Vitaminwater,” Davis said. “The DNA is extremely similar and so is the drive and the vision. Now, it’s how do we continue to attract other athletes and audiences? They are athlete- and artist-friendly; investing in creators is a huge thing Vitaminwater did that I think Super Coffee is mimicking.”
Kitu Super Coffee was started by all-conference basketball player Jordan DeCicco in his dorm at Philadelphia University in 2015. After enlisting the help of brothers Jake and Jim, Super Coffee recorded $600,000 in sales over its first two years, while having products in Whole Foods, Target, Wegmans and Wawa retailers, and partnering with Compass Group, the largest contract food service provider in the world.
The company had more online sales in February 2018 than it did in all of 2017, partly thanks to the brothers’ appearance on ABC’s Shark Tank. Even though they didn’t strike a deal with a shark, Kitu Super Coffee was the best-selling bottled coffee in Wegmans, outselling Starbucks Frappuccino at a 3:1 ratio.
Davis, who invested in March 2020, joins other notables to invest in Kitu Super Coffee, including Patrick Schwarzenegger, who invested in 2018, and the Aaron Rodgers-backed Rx3 Ventures, which invested in December 2019.
“With Baron it’s been a partnership,” said Jim DeCicco, Kitu Super Coffee CEO. “He wants to use his network to make us successful. For that, he’s not a normal athlete or celebrity, he’s truly a business partner and has been a great mentor and advisor to me and my brothers.”
For Davis, the No. 3 overall selection in the 1999 NBA Draft who played in the league until 2012, it was a combination of the DeCicco brothers, the product, the vision, and the execution that excited him enough to invest.
“When you look at the people who are running the company—their DNA as individuals and as a team, their story, their hard work, and the fact that they’re athletes gave me the ultimate confidence that they will be successful,” Davis said. “… I think there are a lot of people who come from my world in athletics who can use a product like this. We want to watch this brand grow together. The goal is to be able to share the message and the story and let the product speak for itself.”
Davis, 40, has certainly kept busy since his playing days in the NBA and BIG3 with Baron Davis Enterprises and his various business ventures. He joined the advisory board at Tinley Beverage Company in November 2019. WTF Baron Davis is a scripted series starring Davis and social media personality Brandon Armstrong that is available on Fuse, Hulu and as of March 25 on PlayersTV, a network exclusive on Samsung TV Plus. Davis, who launched No Label Productions in 2017, is also in the midst of shooting a new film, Young Wild Free.
Despite the limitations and stay-at-home mandates in place as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Davis is trying to optimize his time during this unique situation.
“I’m always busy and occupied so this is giving me time to look at the library of content we have, look at the opportunities we have, and to sit down and have conversations with portfolio companies,” he said. “I got stuff to do. More importantly I’m just figuring out how do we get this content out and how do we champion the next story as far as our community?”