Investors such as Powerplant and Döhler Ventures as well as various business angels recently invested 4.4 million euros in Startup Your Super, a provider of dietary supplements, founded in 2015. “We started out originally in Amsterdam, where Kristel comes from, and were really a” two-man team “.
Simply because we did not even develop the first mixtures with the idea of turning it into a business, “says Michael Küch, who founded the startup together with Kristel de Groot. Meanwhile, the startup resides in Berlin. 12 employees currently work for Your Super. Unfortunately, we are currently unable to publish exact sales figures, but nevertheless betray so much: In 2018, we were able to increase our sales tenfold compared to 2017, and our goal for 2019 is profitability, “says co-founder de Groot. In an interview with deutsche-startups.de, the food founders also talk about mistakes, the surfers Mecca Venice Beach and tennis.
How would you explain your grandmother to Your Super?
Küchen: Your Super is an online shop for superfood blends. Superfoods are fruits, vegetables, seeds, grasses, algae or leaves that are particularly rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes and healthy fats – nutrients that all play an essential role in your well-being. This is so important because eight in ten people do not consume enough nutrients every day. In addition to mere listlessness and constant tiredness, this can also have more serious health effects.
That’s why we wanted to create a way that allows everyone to easily incorporate superfoods and thus important nutrients in their everyday lives. For example, a tablespoon of “Forever Beautiful” or “Super Green” can simply be mixed in a glass of water – it really is not that much easier. Of course, the mixtures also taste wonderful in acai bowls, smoothies, yoghurt creations or salad dressings.
Overall, our offering today includes seven functional superfood blends with matched ingredients for more energy, a strong immune system and an extra portion of antioxidants. All of our blends consist exclusively of five to six nutrient-rich superfoods and therefore 100 percent of natural ingredients. In addition, they are certified organic, vegan, raw, gluten and GMO-free and free from any additives, flavor enhancers, preservatives or sweeteners.
Has your concept changed somehow since the start?
Küch: Honestly, our concept has proven itself over the years or we have been more and more encouraged since the start to maintain our high standards regarding our raw materials and processes. The more one engages oneself with topics such as sourcing, production and certifications, the more one realizes how little reasonable standards or regulations actually exist on the superfood market and how often superfoods appear on products, but what happens in the products Hidden products, but has little to do with superfoods.
Otherwise, since the launch of Your Super in addition to the superfood blends itself has opened up another area, which we find very exciting: the “enlightenment” or the “take hold of” our customers in the form of interactive support groups , Rezeptinspirationen & Co. So there are now various recipe guides to our mixtures and sets and recently we have also launched a beginner course for plant-based nutrition.
How has Your Super evolved since its inception?
Michael Küch: In any case, we have grown and have also “developed spatially”! Back then we started in Amsterdam, where Kristel was born, and were really a “two man team”. Simply because we did not even develop the first mixtures with the idea of turning it into a business.
de Groot: It all started when Michael was diagnosed with cancer in his mid-twenties. I then mixed various superfoods and vitamins to support his immune system after chemotherapy. Initially we made the blends only for ourselves, our family and friends, but the response was overwhelming and the demand for replenishment was huge. That’s why we finally decided to share our knowledge and, above all, our superfood mixes with the world.
But once butter with the fish: How big is Your Super now?
de Groot: Meanwhile, we are working with a 12-member team on our mission to make it as easy as possible for as many people as possible to include more nutrients in their diet. Our team works partly from Berlin, partly from our American office in the surfer mecca Venice Beach. Unfortunately, we are currently unable to publish detailed sales figures, but nevertheless betray so much: In 2018 we were already able to increase our sales tenfold compared to 2017, and our target for 2019 is profitability.
PowerPlant Ventures, Döhler Ventures and several Business Angel have just invested $ 5 million in Your Super. What are you doing with all the money?
de Groot: We would like to use the financing round for growth, team expansion and the development of new products. We also want to use part of the money in developing complementary offerings, such as nutrition courses or recipe e-books.
Since 2017 you are also traveling in the USA. We came to this rapid expansion?
Küch: As a classic e-commerce brand, almost 90% of our sales have been made through our online shop since the very beginning – which is why we were able to send our products practically from the start practically worldwide. More than 10% of all orders went to the United States of America.
Logically, we could not really explain that at first and therefore have sometime summoned some “American customers” in person to hear why they take longer delivery times and higher shipping costs for our products. So we quickly learned that it was not easy in the US to find superfoods in organic quality, without additives, sweeteners and fillers and the demand was therefore enormous.
There was a proven need and the move to the US last year was relatively easy, as we both had lived in the United States for a long time. In fact, we met there during a tennis scholarship at Valdosta State University in Georgia. Despite all the concerns and warnings of family, friends and business partners, we settled in 2017 next to our headquarters in Berlin with a second office on the southwest coast of America, in Los Angeles. The successful financing round there, of course, once again affirms to us that our approach in the USA also takes the pulse of the times.
Please take a look back: What has gone wrong since the launch of Your Super?
Küch: Like every other startup, everyday things go wrong with us and sometimes there is a lot of chaos. For example, we simply arrived at a trade fair without a stand because we did not realize that we needed to bring along tables, chairs and the like. When we ordered the very first load of packaging material in Amsterdam, we did not realize that the company was delivering their goods on huge pallets and the supplier, in turn, assumed that he was delivering to a large warehouse including ramp.
Since we all looked very surprised when the huge truck was suddenly in the housing estate in front of our apartment. When we sent the parcels ourselves, we shipped our boxes without wrapping paper and then wondered why the blends on the way to the customer regularly “exploded”. Another time, we printed thousands of booklets just to change all our prices the week after.
And last year we were so surprised by our growth that we did not have any goods for several weeks. To put it in a nutshell: we do not miss a lot. But in retrospect, the problems seem less and less important than the tasks ahead!
And where have you done everything right so far?
Küch: In any case, with our uncompromising approach to the sourcing and transparency of our value chain! And with all the super foodies that are now part of our team!
Where is Your Super in a year?
de Groot: We would like to continue to grow – also thanks to the recently completed financing round! For 2019, we would like to expand our team even further, reach new customer groups and provide even more content to our customers. The launch of new products is also planned and in addition to the expansion in the USA, we also want to expand in the European market, for example in France and the UK. And above all, as a global superfood brand, we want to continue to create complete transparency for our customers in everything we do and give back even more, especially in our growing areas.
Also published on Medium.