Kawhi Leonard-backed Energy Drink Company Bulks Up Executive Team

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Energy drink company X2 Performance, which is partially owned by Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard, has expanded its leadership team, as it looks to grow in the crowded beverage aisle.

New EVP of finance and operations Scott Greene comes from PepsiCo, joining recently hired EVP of marketing and strategic partnerships Dave Cohen in reporting to CEO Mark French. French has also brought on former InBev USA exec Jim Block as VP of sales and David Benoit, who comes from Endeavor-owned 160over90, as VP of sports and entertainment marketing. Chad Cunningham has been promoted to VP of product development.

X2 products, which started with an energy shot before introducing canned and powder offerings, has been in pro locker rooms for nearly five years, landing more than 25 teams as customers. The recent executive hires bring the company to 15 employees. “We’ve got this product that some of the best athletes in the world are using, and nobody knows about it,” said French, who was brought in less than two years ago to begin commercializing X2 at scale. The company currently has distribution deals with CVS, Subway and GNC. The new hires point to plans for a larger marketing, distribution and product rollout push later this year.

French previously worked on businesses with the likes of Derek Jeter (The Players’ Tribune), Dwyane Wade (Court Grip) and Serena Williams (EnduraCool).

Leonard gained two X2 Performance board of director seats during a Series D round in 2020. Private equity firm L Catterton led that round, joined by O’Melveny Sports Industry Group co-chair Chuck Baker, Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David and CAA Sports co-head Mike Levine, among others. “This is really an athlete-engineered business,” French said. “We’re going to be doing a lot more with pro athletes and teams.”

Drink makers have become a common investment for top athletes. Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes took equity in BioSteel last year, while BodyArmor has long boasted endorser-investors including Rob Gronkowski and Mike Trout. In March, LeBron James signed with Pepsi to pitch its new energy drink, Mtn Dew Rise Energy. With a caffeinated, non-carbonated drink, though, X2 is also looking to replace coffee as a pre-workout drink.

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