Ketone Energy Drink KEY Launches with $4M


Energy drinks are becoming functional cocktails.

What’s happening: KEY, a better-for-you energy drink containing active ketones, launched with $4M in seed funding.

Founded by former Coca-Cola and PepsiCo execs, the no-sugar, low-caffeine beverage will retail in California indie grocer Erewhon before expanding nationwide.

Why it matters: Elbowing into a clean energy boom, KEY taps demand for natural ingredients. Using fermented ketones, a backup fuel source for the body, the brand promises the cognitive benefits of the keto diet while skirting the detriments of high caffeine intake.

Amped Up

With a better-for-you playbook that mixes in functional ingredients while nixing sugar, brands like Celsius are taking big swigs of the $62B energy drink market.

Further innovating, new beverages are rethinking caffeine to stand out.

  • Dr. Andrew Huberman and VC firm Tiny acquired yerba mate beverage maker Mateína.
  • Odyssey Elixir raised $6M for its adaptogenic mushroom-based energy drinks this year.
  • Outdoor Voices founder Ty Haney is building guayusa-powered brand Joggy.

Takeaway: KEY is late to the energy boom, and it’s not the first ketone-energy bev — with HVMN’s Ketone-IQ already a favorite of keto high-performers. But selling “all-natural” fuel, especially to an Erewhon crowd, has a lot of the right ingredients.

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