The Prototype: Verum becomes the alternative to coffee and Erik and Crispijn came up with itt)
When Erik Messemaker and Crispijn de Koning went for a health challenge from ten to zero cups of coffee a day, they got a banging headache. But they also quickly felt the good effects of quitting. The traditional dip was gone. They discovered that the caffeine in coffee blocks the sleep molecule adenosine, with all the nasty consequences that entails. That had to be healthier, said the born entrepreneurs. Last June they launched Verum.
"With Verum we wanted to create a healthy alternative to coffee that has the same effects as a cup of coffee, but without the dependence on caffeine, explains Messemaker. “A healthy warm drink that gives a boost and has a nice warm experience and can be drunk while working..”
Healthy plants in the blender
Verum's first recipe came about pretty quickly. Messemaker and De Koning have created a database of plants and herbs from all over the world that give body and mind more energy in a healthy way. Then they selected a number, bought them in and threw them in the shed in the blender.
“The first mix included the Indian plants Rhodiola and Ashwagandha and the effects were the same as those of coffee, De Koning recalls. Only the very first sip took some getting used to. It had an earthy taste to it.n.”
And taste is of course decisive in the success of a new drink. So they decided to approach star chefs and their advice was to stick with the full bodied coffee flavors. Messemaker: ,, We then added cocoa, ginger and cinnamon. These flavors really shape a drink. We missed that completely with the first recipe.t.”
High expectations, great deals
This very first product from Verum tastes like coffee with cocoa and went to customers three months ago. The pair have high hopes for Verum. “We have big deals with Dutch coffee distributors, so that we can really reach the Dutch offices. In addition, we are about to hit the shelves at one of the large Dutch supermarkets, says De Koning..
"We are about to hit the shelves at one of the major Dutch supermarkets"
And Verum does not stop at national borders. Next year, Verum should also be drunk in the United States and Scandinavia. De Koning: “The market for alternative coffees is larger there and sachets work very well. The Netherlands is more of a cupjes country. That is why we are launching coffee cups with a new recipe here in December, so that you no longer taste the difference with regular coffee.”
Investors needed for growth ambition
Such big plans require deep pockets, so Messemaker and De Koning are in talks with investors. Verum will need about six tons until the end of 2021 to realize its growth ambitions in the short term. It is expected that a turnover of ten million will be achieved in five years.
“And then things can go fast, De Koning expects. “There is a trend towards healthy food and the coffee market will be much broader with plant coffees, which are good for body and mind. With Verum we are exactly on that side of the market. We expect that market to open and that the world will be open to Verum..”
Crispijn de Koning is one of the guests during the Week van de Ondernemer Radio, on Monday 16 November from 10:00 to 13:00. You can listen live via this website and via New Business Radio.