This Viral TikTok country is now worth 1 billion dollars
Cirkul recently raised $70 million, increasing its value by more than 500%.
When Garrett Wagoner saw a 400% increase in visits to his company’s website in early 2021, he thought it was a mistake. But it’s not. Instead, it’s another example of TikTok’s power. The company’s Cirkul water bottles went viral on the social media platform with thousands of videos eventually garnering more than a billion views.
The company made waves of “TikTok Made Me Buy It” hit the shelves of Walmart Inc. Since launching in US stores in mid-April, Cirkul has sold 1.5 million units and is one of the best performing items in the home division, the world’s largest retailer says. with shareholders this month.
Cirkul is sold in the home section because it is a type of appliance. Users fill a Cirkul-branded plastic bottle with water, install an aromatherapy box, and set the intensity dial to customize options ranging from iced coffee to strawberry lemon. A starter kit with a bottle and two cartridges sells for about $20.
Success at Walmart helped the startup, which recently raised $70 million in a funding round that boosted its value by more than 500% to $1 billion. (The company declined to provide sales or profit figures.)
Bloomberg spoke with 31-year-old Wagoner, the chief executive officer and founder of Cirkul, and Philip McKeating, its chief executive officer, about the brand’s origin story, which is viral and sustainable.
How did Cirkul get started?
Wagoner: In the dressing room at Dartmouth College, where we play football. I’m pouring powder into a water bottle, and it’s making a mess. It was the proverbial light bulb moment, and we came up with the concept of the aromatherapy container. Cirkul was founded in 2018 with Dartmouth graduate Andy Gay. Trying to break through in the beverage industry must be tough, with all the soft drinks, soft drinks and flavored waters. How did you do it?
Wagoner: We’re bringing innovation to an unprecedented space. We have a wide variety of flavors, more than 50 varieties, and growing to 100 different varieties by the end of the year. And the design of the bottle allows to super-personalize the beverage experience in a way never seen before.
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♬ original sound – Verna Parson
What’s the secret to going viral on TikTok? Is there any?
Wagoner: It’s not a horse or a donkey. It’s a bunch of different people with not many followers spread by their reaction to a product that really excites them. Many startup brands have struggled to sustain growth after a massive launch.
How does Cirkul plan to avoid that?
Wagoner: We want to grow fast, but be profitable. Our success to date reflects that. We have been profitable for the past two years.
What happens when growing a startup during a global pandemic that causes supply chain disruptions and high inflation?
McKeating: We are very fortunate to have significant control over our supply chain and be vertically integrated. That makes us more resistant to inflationary pressures.
Wagoner: We’ve learned our lesson with TikTok that you can never be over-prepared. Our orders have grown exponentially in just a few months, which means we have to be agile in responding to increased consumer demand, such as hiring more representatives. customer support, logistics support, and ensuring vendors are tapped to see how things are evolving.
Sustainability is a big part of the company message and you said “Cirkul” represents the cyclical nature of reusable bottles. But how sustainable is the product if people can only drink tap water and avoid plastic altogether?
Wagoner: The amount of plastic in the cartridge is equivalent to an average standard bottle, and then an average consumer can refill their Cirkul bottle six times. By no means is Cirkul a perfect solution. But at its core, what we do is we make it fun and convenient for people to enjoy water their way and also do a good thing for the planet.