Taking Sneak to the next level: why we invested in Sneak

Sneak is disrupting the energy drinks market, with a distinctively branded healthy alternative. We believe that Sneak has the creativity, brand power, product attributes, and founding team to continue its disruption of the UK energy drinks market and to grow internationally, both in the US and Europe.

Taking Sneak to the next level: why we invested in Sneak

insight / 9 Sept 2021

Sneak is a fast-growing energy drinks business, with a distinctive, street-style brand. We believe that Sneak has the creativity, brand power, product attributes, and founding team to continue its disruption of the UK energy drinks market and to grow internationally, both in the US and Europe.

What is Sneak?

Sneak is a direct-to-consumer energy drink brand, based in Manchester, which has grown rapidly since its establishment in 2018. It has built a loyal and engaged community of followers who have switched choice from brands such as Monster and Red Bull due to their D2C business model and iconic brand, which differentiates itself by more than just an instantly recognisable bunny marque: it is sugarfree, low calorie, and made with only natural flavours.

The business was founded by Jonny Teeling and Will Peirce, entrepreneurs who have worked together since meeting at university, founding several digital and consumer businesses including Hairburst and Cocowhite, prior to launching Sneak. Jonny and Will were early adopters of social media and influencer marketing and were able to utilise this experience for Sneak and attract an exciting demographic of gamers and creators through a range of digital channels including YouTube, Instagram, Twitch, and TikTok.

The hero product is a powdered supplement added to water in a range of permanent flavours such as Blue Raspberry or citrus fruit-based Tropikilla – or creative limited-edition flavours like Cola Millions or Blankberry. The business has operated internationally almost since its inception, with a growing community of fans in the US and EU attempting to collect the brand’s latest street-style designs of clothes and shakers. Sneak’s products are primarily bought through its own DTC website with the communities supported through Facebook (16k members in the Sneak Community channel) and Discord (3.5k) with lively customer engagement, often canvassing new ideas through testing with its community, such as for the upcoming “Origins” launch, and with transparency at all times with an active social presence.

True’s Attraction to Sneak.

Energy is one of the most exciting and fastest-growing segments of size in the beverages space, with the UK, US, and German markets accounting for approximately £14bn of retail sales per year and growing c. 7% p.a. Within this, online penetration is rapidly growing in importance, led by shifting consumer habits towards D2C, online grocery, Amazon, and rapid-delivery services such as Deliveroo. At True, we only invest in businesses we believe we can work with as partners by not just adding capital but additional value beyond this too. In this instance, we believe our experience and network in the D2C and beverages sectors can accelerate Sneak from both a digital perspective, as well as exposing the brand to the more traditional offline grocery space both with our retail relationships from across True more broadly, as well as from our experience working with Soulfresh during the last two years.

Our unique business model means that anyone who becomes part of the True community has access to our network of changemakers, which include next-generation marketing solutions, products and emerging technologies that can help Sneak grow its presence, both domestically and internationally.

Through True’s sector specialism and competency in spotting trends, and following an in-depth vertical-specific review, we identified Sneak as being the most exciting brand in the D2C energy space, with an entrepreneurial and creative team led by Will and Jonny driving an already-strong international footprint and a nascent offline presence.

Our experience in D2C brands across various consumer sub-sectors will also inform the Sneak strategy as its team grows and the business scales its international operations and systems. We’ve already developed a great working relationship with Jonny and Will and are excited about the pair also working closely with the rest of our portfolio management teams to discuss similar markets and challenges on a regular basis.

Entering this dynamic market by partnering with such a creative founding team gives our team a genuine buzz and we’re excited to see how by utilising True’s community and expertise we’ll be able to help take Sneak to the next level.

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