LPGA golfer Michelle Wie West is the newest investor, co-owner and global face of OXIGEN, a pH-balanced water made with electrolytes and added oxygen. The U.S. Women’s Open champion joins Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry, who made an equity investment in August to become a co-owner, ambassador and board advisor.
Wie West is the latest athlete to sidestep the traditional endorsement deal, joining a company as an investor instead of simply serving as a spokesperson. Curry did the same—and that’s because OXIGEN, as CEO Blair Bentham said in an interview, “doesn’t do traditional endorsement deals.”
“We’re proud to have partners who are active investors in the brand and collaborate with us directly,” Bentham said. “They share our values and our mission to help people ‘Recover and Rise’—for our bodies, our communities and our planet,” he added, quoting the company tagline.
The company did not disclose any financial details about the deals, including either athlete’s equity stake.
Launched in 2015 as Formula Four and rebranded last year, OXIGEN has seen 300% to 400% year-over-year growth over what the company describes as the “last few years.” The premium water, whose eco-friendly bottles are made from 100% post-consumer use recycled plastic, is now available in grocery, convenience and drug stores in all 50 states with around 47,000 points of distribution including CVS and Kroger.
Bringing on Curry and Wie West signals OXIGEN’s intent to expand its popularity in the sports market, although Bentham has said that the company does not intend to compete with the likes of Gatorade, Vitamin Water or other newcomers, including BodyArmor, in the sports drink space. The famous athletes, can, however, help the brand expand throughout the U.S. and abroad.
Wie West, who welcomed a daughter in June, is already at work helping to advertise the product both within and outside of the sports space.
“As a professional athlete, being in tune with your body is an essential part of success. Now as a new mom, I feel more dialed into my health and wellness than ever before,” Wie West said in a press release. “I’m excited to help share the stories of moms and women everywhere with OXIGEN.”
The professional golfer, 31, first made headlines in 2000 as the youngest player to qualify for a USGA amateur championship at age 10. Since turning pro at age 15, Wie West has won five LPGA titles, including the U.S. Women’s Open in 2014. More recently, she has served as an on-camera analyst for Golf Channel and CBS.