Client Spotlight: Waterloo Sparkling Water

By Pete Pearson

5 Questions with Max Tenney, VP of Finance, Waterloo Sparkling Water

waterloo sparkling water logoHere at Bridgepoint, we have the pleasure of working with organizations of all sizes, who are innovating their industry and doing some amazing work. This month, we’re spotlighting Waterloo Sparkling Water, an Austin-based Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) company, that is quickly making a big name for itself in the beverage industry.

It’s been a busy year for Waterloo Sparkling Water. The company has sold 75 million cans of zero-calorie carbonated water since launching in the fall of 2017, and has steadily increased its distribution network. Their waters are now available in about 5,000 stores. In addition, Waterloo recently closed a $4M convertible, pre-series B round of financing to bolster its explosive first year growth.

max tenney headshotI recently sat down with Waterloo’s VP of Finance, Max Tenney, to learn more about how the company has been able to achieve such explosive growth in record time, challenges they’ve faced along the way and how other startup companies can follow suit. Here is what he had to say.

  1. You’ve been able to get your business up and running in one year. What’s been the biggest challenge in that year? The biggest challenge, which has actually been a fun one to work through, has been managing growth effectively—both in terms of promotional/marketing activity, as well as the headcount necessary to deliver that growth.
  2. What’s the biggest success, whether it’s something that led to the growth, or something helped you manage that growth?I’d say our biggest success has been our ability to secure state of the art production and operating efficiencies well beyond those typical for a first-year company. Our sales team has done a wonderful job getting Waterloo into a large number of stores, but without our excellent Ops team, we wouldn’t have been able to service all of the volume. Our rapid expansion is really a testament to the intellectual and operational horsepower of the team.
  3. What’s the most exciting thing about working for a fast-growing company like Waterloo? Every day presents a new challenge. But these challenges are fun to work through knowing that they contribute to the eventual success of our brand.
  4. What’s your favorite flavor of Waterloo Sparking Beverage and way to drink it? I think our Watermelon flavor is unlike anything else out there. Just taking a cold can out of the fridge, popping it open, and letting the aroma fill the room is the best way enjoy it.
  5. What’s your one piece of advice to similar fast-growing CPG companies? Knowing where your blind spots are and being willing to recognize that calling on your network for support, even with the smallest questions, is hugely important. This is especially true when you’re growing quickly, and unforeseen problems and hurdles pop up that you or your team won’t have an answer for. Don’t be hesitant to pick someone else’s brain on the best way to succeed through those challenges.

Our Startup Services team is proud to support the work that Waterloo Sparkling Water is doing. We look forward to seeing them continue to grow.

About Waterloo

Austin-based Waterloo Sparkling Water is a BOLD take on the growing sparkling water genre, making its mark by focusing on true-to-fruit flavor & aroma and delivering a much richer, more authentic taste. Waterloo comes in 8 flavors including Original, Black Cherry, Watermelon, Coconut, Lemon, Lime, Grapefruit & Mango and is available nationwide. Currently offered in traditional 12-ounce cans, Waterloo is sold in 12-can and 8-can fridge-pack cases. The product first became available in September 2017 and has already landed distribution in many national retailers. Waterloo was featured on People Magazine’s 2018 Awesome List.

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About Pete Pearson

As Director in Bridgepoint’s Startup Services practice, Pete Pearson helps support and optimize early-stage and fast-growing companies across central Texas. Pearson is a seasoned financial and business leader, who brings over 20 years of experience with Big 4 and public and privately-held high growth companies in a variety of industries. He has a strong background in strategic financial leadership, building and supporting teams in high growth companies, mergers and acquisitions and financial process improvement. A licensed CPA, Pearson received his Bachelor of Science Degree with an emphasis in Business Management & Accounting from Oregon State University.

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