Pop Quiz, Monday with Drew Bilbe

Drew Bilbe

The Pop Quiz, Monday is a fun little exam that we love to give to savvy business owners. The examination is not a surprise after all since the interviewee already knew about the questions in advance. However, we can always pretend and have fun with the scenario of a young entrepreneur sitting in class nervously biting on their pencil. They are ready to take a pop quiz on a chapter that they were supposed to read the night before. Instead, they played Metroid all night on their SNES (Oops, this was me in high school). The real purpose of the pop quiz is that this is a fun way to introduce business tips from real-world experiences that you can not learn in a classroom. We want to thank our entrepreneur for being a good sport and volunteering their time to answer a few questions to help our community grow from their knowledge.

I want to introduce you to our guest today who will be taking our Pop Quiz Monday.

Can you please tell everyone your name?
Drew Bilbe

What is your job role?
Co-Founder and CEO of Nexba Beverages

Tell us about your company?
Nexba is Australia’s leading Naturally Sugar-Free beverage innovator, on a mission to provide everyday Aussies with great tasting soft drinks that combat the perils of our nation’s sugar epidemic. Our beverages offer a Naturally Sugar-Free – no sugar and no artificial – solution to traditional soft drinks without compromising on taste. We have come a long way since selling our first iced teas out the back of a van and having cracked the major supermarkets in Australia, have recently taken our brand to one of leading health-conscious markets in the world, the UK.

What do you love most about your job?
The best thing about my job is to help drive Australia’s (and now UK’s!) soft drink innovation. Health maintenance shouldn’t be difficult nor a chore, and it’s extremely rewarding receiving such positive feedback from our customers on our products; we’ve had a huge army of supporters since day one, and their loyalty to the brand never fails to make me feel like we are really achieving something big here. Australians shouldn’t need to go above and beyond to lead a healthy lifestyle yet diabetes remains the biggest health challenge currently being faced. Actively being part of the innovation process in the Naturally Sugar-Free movement and therefore having a positive impact on our nation’s health is the reason me and my team turn up every day.

What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?
As I mentioned before actively being part of the innovation process in the Naturally Sugar-Free movement and therefore having a positive impact on our nation’s health is the reason me and my team turn up every day. Naturally, Sugar-Free drinks aren’t a fad – they are here to stay. As consumers are growing not only more health conscious but also more aware of corporate agendas in the FMCG marketplace, here at Nexba we feel responsible for delivering the best quality better-for-you options combined with flavour innovations to really give people products that deliver on the health side but also the taste side. The resources are there to create these products, and we are more than happy to spearhead the movement!

How do your co-workers inspire you?
All that Nexba has achieved to date have really been a team effort. We’re a small team, many of us have been here since the early days, including my ‘brother-in-law’ Troy who is currently championing the international expansion of the brand. My co-workers are well-driven and share my passion for FMCG innovation. We’re all inspired by our loyal Nexba fans which push us to keep bringing out new products.

How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?
As one half of the ‘Aussie Boys’, here at Nexba, we try to minimise formality and keep things lighthearted. We have a great company culture, and the advantage of having a small team means we know each other really well and take all the wins as team achievements – every one of us has a role to play. We love having catch ups and banter around the office, and of course, playing table tennis.

What are some of the challenges of your job?
Without a doubt, our biggest challenge is brand awareness and increasing household penetration. The beverage category is controlled by a huge multinational company that has very deep pockets, so it’s really important that we innovate and stay ahead of our competition. Being nimble and listening to our customers has been key to our success.

What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?
One of the biggest lessons I have learnt in a health beverage company is to take all the time you need to develop the right product. Innovation is difficult. It takes time, money and effort and cutting corners or releasing a product before it’s ready will prevent you from unlocking its potential. Ultimately, it’s worth taking extra time to perfect your formula.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting out in your industry?
Don’t be afraid of failure. It’s the ultimate learning tool within innovation.

Thank you for taking our pop quiz today. You get an A+ for effort. You can learn more about our interviewee and their business by visiting them on the web:

Website: https://www.nexba.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DrinkNexba/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nexba/?hl=en
Twitter: https://twitter.com/nexba?lang=en

Author: Ricky Singh, MBA

Editor of The Startup Growth.

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