Crispijn de Koning had already sold his two companies at the age of 24. But he did not become an entrepreneur to rest on his laurels as early as possible. Today - 16 July 2020 - he and Erik Messemaker are launching the Verum brand, a hot drink that should turn traditional coffee culture upside down. He has not considered postponing the launch. "Corona has actually accelerated the process."
The head of Crispijn de Koning 25 is a hotbed of a thousand and one ideas. "I'm actually always working, while I never feel like I'm working," he says cryptically. "Making my own things motivates me every day."''
More after the success of Westlander Bier
After the success of Westlander Bier, which he had set up with partner Sven Boers, the step to the next product was a small one. While Boers chose a different path in the business world, De Koning found a new business partner in Erik Messemaker 24, with whom he had become friends during their higher vocational education.g.
"In addition to my studies, I started doing business right away in the first year," he says. “Erik first wanted to discover the world. He lived in Shanghai, Singapore and South Korea. He did his master's in Antwerp. During that period we always kept in touch with each other. We are two young guys who have dreams; who really want to raise the bar. It was clear early on that we had a click. ''
Messemaker initially focused on matcha, the organic green tea powders from Japan and China. De Koning: ,, If you are so intensively involved with nutrition, you will see opportunities. We often philosophized about that. Meat consumption shows that a tipping point has come. People are becoming increasingly aware. Coffee culture has also been around for an eternity. I drank four or five cups a day; Erik even a little more. The majority of the Dutch depend on it. We found that a fascinating fact. We were surprised that there are hardly any other hot drinks in that category, apart from tea. Then we decided to dive into this together. ''
'A drink that tastes like coffee, but is healthier'
A large majority of coffee drinkers are above the average of four cups a day. De Koning: ,, We discuss a lot of things in this country, but not about caffeine and what it does to people. We wanted to see if we could develop something better. A drink that tastes the same as coffee, but is healthier. ''
When he has to define the taste, De Koning ends up with coffee-like notes of cocoa and a strong hint of ginger.’. Verum is drunk in combination with hot water. The six gram sachet consists of various herbs and plant extracts. The ingredients contain very little caffeine and a high content of vitamins and minerals, with which Verum immediately creates a positive effect on body and mind.
'Verum is a natural, genuine product'
In Latin means Verum true or for real. From the origin, De Koning adds. “We had the name rather than a nice drink. Verum is a natural product. We have a feeling for that. I believe that as a person you would also like to be as authentic as possible. That means that you have an honest and sincere attitude towards life. We want to propagate that. Independence and authenticity come close together. It's just a perfect match. And actually the whole process has been very bizarre. "."
“Just like with Westlander Bier, we had a pretty good recipe within two months. From that moment on we started to change little things. If you increase a certain ingredient by a few percent, you can already get a completely different drink. So the details make the difference. Finally, after a year of development, we got to a point where we knew: this is really good. With this we can enter the market. ''
The duo did not go on ice overnight. The process of research, testing and analysis began in September. They toured scientists and star chefs. Everything they did had to be substantiated. They wanted to have the right quality marks to demonstrate that Verum has been put together with the greatest care and dedication.
"I think the timing is ideal. Corona has actually accelerated the process. In a time of crisis everyone is going to rethink everything. ''
One mug of Verum: stimulating plant extracts and six different vitamins and minerals
Verum Drinks BV primarily focuses on offices and catering places where many business people come. It would be presumptuous to say that they are going to overthrow the concrete-cast national coffee culture. But in any case, the young entrepreneurs want to compete with an open mind. Their dream for the future That something like a fixed is created every day at the countless workplacest Verum moment.
De Koning: ,, Coffee is simply delicious and it will remain so. Our wish was only to be able to put something next to it. With coffee you experience peaks, but also dips. In addition to stimulating plant extracts, one mug of Verum also contains six different vitamins and minerals that provide more than 25 percent of the general daily amount a person needs. And precisely the vitamins and minerals that stimulate the brain in energy, concentration and memory. ''
Doing business during the corona crisis
Tellingly, even a pandemic would not unbalance the born optimists. De Koning: ,, I think the timing is ideal. Corona has actually accelerated the process. In a time of crisis everyone is going to rethink everything. It has not been a pleasant period for people and my own consultancy firm also went to zero. But we immediately said to each other: the world has changed immediately, this is our chance. We went a step further, tested even more extensively and never considered delaying the launch for a moment. ''
Nor does he think about financial risks. “These are normally questions that recur in every business plan.. When are you going to earn your money back?? We did not invest a second in this. I very much believe in positive thoughts. If it doesn't work, I'll be fine again. Then you are at least an experience richer. But the advantage of doing various things is that you also feel earlier when you have the momentum. And I think we are now in that phase with Verum. "
Yoeri van den Busken - July 16, 2020