The Company We Keep is a column on the CN&CO blog that profiles some of the most interesting people in our networks. Here we share the details of the lives of people we know, showcasing the extraordinary diversity of our society and proving that people truly are at the heart of everything we do.
Almost a year ago exactly, I received a Carel Nolte Hospital Pass.
Now anyone who has worked closely with Carel will understand that these can vary from:
- “I cant make it to Mauritius next week, get your passport ready” to,
- “By the way you are joining the panel discussion at this mornings event in my place – the topic is ‘The future of Artificial Intelligence in the Human Resources environment’ – now don’t Fuc Up” to,
- ” I worked with a guy at Easy 5 years ago who grew up on a farm in the Eastern Cape, who is launching a new soft drink in New York, you need to speak to him at 2pm today and help him launch his product”.
It was the latter that I am writing about today.
One year ago CN&CO started engaging with Oryx Ventures. A company comprised of three young South Africans living in New York. Justus Luttig, Devan Knoetze and Sean McLintock. They had an idea. To launch a flavoured sparkling water drink containing hemp extract in the UK market. What struck me immediately was that these guys were passionate, clever, driven and perhaps even a tiny bit crazy. Launching a brand new soft drink, with zero experience of soft drinks, self funded, having not engaged with anyone in the soft drink industry in the UK, with only one team member based part time in the UK… I said to Carel, I think they just might be crazy enough to actually pull this off!
What followed was a series of chats and emails between the Oryx Ventures team and CN&CO. Having had personal experience, launching a soft drink into the UK market in 2008, and having worked for three years there marketing Bacardi Rum, I had a few contacts and a bit of insight into the ups and downs and ins and outs of the London and UK drinks scene.
We introduced them to Xfacta, a bespoke design and brand agency based in Johannesburg, who fast forward a year have brought their soft drink idea to life with a name, design, brand, packaging and other design elements. Check this out for some serious design excellence and what I believe is the best looking drinks brand I have ever seen. We love that a South African based design agency, was chosen over many UK agencies vying for the business. So the brand is the mastermind of young South African entrepreneurs, and was brought to life in design by a South African designers and is now hitting the shelves of London’s upmarket drinks scene.
Apart from a couple of introductions to some key players in the UK drinks market, Sweet&Chilli specialist drinks agency amongst others, CN&CO can claim very little of the glory, that the hard work and determination of these three young entrepreneurs has achieved.
We are so proud of the guys and how far they have come. The drink has now officially soft launched in the UK. They have produced 33000 units of their soft drink, and we are very much looking forward to the next few months as ThreeDots starts to infiltrate the highly competitive UK drinks market.
We have also been promised a sample pack soon, and look forward to further partnering with the team when they bring ThreeDots home to South African shores.
So the next time you are chatting about “this idea you have” with your family and friends. Take the next step. Find the right partners to make it a success. GO the hard yards. Find the funding. Just go for it. So many ideas, stay just that, an idea, unless someone (or some three…) have the balls to make it happen. If you listened to our wonderful Minister of Finance last week, it is entrepreneurs who employ South Africans. We need small business, new business, new ideas, and some guts to make it happen and help turn around our economy.
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