Beverage Startups

The Second Place Winners of DrinkPreneur Live 2015

The Second place was taken by T-Sticks of London. Today, I’m speaking with Ricky Kothari of T-Sticks of London.

DrinkPreneur Live 2015 event was colorful and full with different kind of startups. What are your thoughts after the event?

T-Sticks Second Place Winners at DrinkPreneur Live 2015The event was a fantastic showcase of real innovation and new product developments. It was a successful day, well planned with real insights from industry experts and buyers from the multiples. We spoke with Charles Rolls as we are very interested in the export potential, T-Sticks are receiving lots of interest from new markets such as Canada, USA, Asia and Far East (China, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan). Charles has an inspiring revenue model where 70% comes from exports. We took lots away to strategically move forward to innovate our brand, packaging and interesting quality flavours as we build up more T-Sticks of London ‘hero’ consumers.

 Have you been able to get everything what you wanted from the event?

Being a leading industry event for brand new start-ups the feedback is so important at this stage and being an agile business we can adapt very quickly to market demands and deliver quality on scale. The event provided us with more confidence to go big by answering the question “Does your value proposition meet an unfulfilled need?” The answer is YES, we have data that our product range meets this question, we are currently in production of a 20ft container full of our British led design T-Sticks destined for Hong Kong and another for Europe.

Congratulations for winning the second place. How do you feel? Does second place satisfy you? Did you felt enough strong before the competition, or second place was a surprise for you?

It’s amazing and the team is ecstatic to be voted and judged to win this prestigious position as it aligns with our launch plans. It means a lot to us especially the guidance and advice by the judging panel, that has years of experience, for us to learn and implement to make our product a success in the UK and being a major player in the global market place. Our goal from the beginning is to stir up the tea industry by providing an exciting, cool, unique tea drinking option. This aligns with our strategic plan as we build our track record in the food service(HORECA)/workplace channels and retailers. We have gone large! and developed a range of products 20 SKUS with 10 exciting and flavoursome blends emphasising the premium and quality ingredients with input from our tea specialist previously from Fortnum and Mason’s.

fdWhat are your thoughts about first and third place winners? What were their strongest qualities that assured those places for them?

Tapped is quite a way ahead with their branding and stockists. They have a great pedigree with the experience from working for Innocent, which clearly shows through their progress and creativity to date. Through my professional hobby, in the health and fitness industry as an Advanced  Level 3 trainer delivering high intensity spin classes,  I understand the beneficial bio-active nutrient properties of  quality ingredients like coconut water, Birch Tree water and brewed tea or herbal leaves. Products that can deliver real biological benefits with ease whether through tapped trees, stirred or bottled are qualities to meet our current demanding lifestyles. Very worthy winners both first and third positions.

What was your own TOP 3 startup list? What did you like about them?

Nix and KIX – I love Cayenne peppers and I’m a chili lover, the kick it gives and actually peppers have a high content of vitamin C as a fruit.

SOTI Natural  – love tea and green tea and this process of bottling Gyokuro.

Tapped – naturally sourced I already read about the trends in the USA with Canadian Birch tree water, a UK brand is great with the tea tree bark design really works well.

These were the ones on my list prior to the event.

What are next for T-Sticks? What do you planed for the future?

We were recently shortlisted by the US retail giant Target which we pitched at the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, in London to the UKTI team and Virgin representatives to  present our range and distinctive retail shelf ready box packaging for Virgin Foodpreneur 2015. It was great as we got another chance to meet with Sir Richard Branson and other successful food and drink Entrepreneurs like Paul Lindley of Ellah’s Kitchen and get advice especially as we have entered China supplying the Google Office in Shanghai, Organic Supermarket in Beijing and are in talks with City Shopper /Ole retailers.

Our UK team’s focus is getting listed in premium food halls and grocers, meeting the right distribution partners for us to work with who shares the same passions as we so do about the product.


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