TENZING: Huib van Bockel

The former head of marketing at Red Bull UK, and entrepreneur, talks about finding a niche in the energy drinks market

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Name: Huib van Bockel
Company name: TENZING
Location: Greater London
Date launched: 1/11/2015
No. of employees: 3
Website: www.teamtenzing.com

Tell us what your business does:

TENZING is an energizing drink that is 100% natural and contains less than half the sugar of its competitors.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

We all need energy.

Traditionally most people would simply grab an energy drink, but nowadays more and more people are becoming health conscious and want to know what is inside these drinks.

This is why we have created a natural alternative that has the same sugar levels as coconut waters.

How did you know there was a market for it?

First of all, I had worked in the industry for a long time, but mainly just by seeing the trends happen around me.

I think London is a great place for noticing niches and potential business opportunities. It’s no wonder so many great start-ups have begun in London.

What were you doing before starting up?

I was head of marketing for Red Bull UK.

Have you always wanted to run your own business?

With me, the urge always came in waves. This last wave was one I just felt I had to catch!

How did you raise the money?

Through a combination of self-funding and loans

Describe your business model and how you make money:

I have a website where you can buy TENZING and even get a year subscription.

Our main business will go through more premium and health focussed outlets like Pod Restaurants and King’s College.

And we will be starting in Planet Organic very soon, which I am super exited about!

What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?

There is always this sense of romance when it comes to start ups but it’s very tough.

You basically spend a full year of your life, working day and night to create this new product and build this new brand. It’s like your baby.

When you hit the market and people say they’re not interested, it is emotionally tough.

But you have to keep on going, no one got there easy.

What was your first big breakthrough?

My listings at King’s College and Pod Restaurants.

They were my two favourite places that I wanted to launch. The people there shared our vision of offering people the most natural and healthy energizer possible and we are selling amazingly well there.

We notice that we are doing particularly well with students and with entrepreneurs in East London.

They work incredibly hard and are very smart so can be very picky with what they eat and drink.

So for them TENZING is the perfect solution.

What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

Go for it! But have a good idea first on your product.

Ask yourself ‘is it relevant and unique?’

If I would have launched just another energy drink it would have failed miserably, but through talking with many people (mainly students from King’s College) I developed a drink that is not out there on the market.

The other piece of advice I would give is; go to the market early.

Don’t wait for you product to be finished.

Both with Pod and King’s College, I started talking to them when I had my first samples ready.

I got their feedback and took it on board.

Where do you want to be in five years’ time?

For us, our overall mission is what really drives us.

We are all about nature.

We not only source 100% of our ingredients from nature we also invest 5% of our profits back into it.

Now this is still just small, my dream would be to grow bigger and make a bigger impact on this hugely important topic.

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