Meet Bizzy, the organic coffee concentrate energizing social entrepreneurship. Founders Alex and Andrew started Bizzy with one goal in mind; to produce the healthiest and most convenient products on the market. Their journey began in 2013 while working at corporate jobs and training for a 24-hour obstacle race. In order to be on top of their game, they needed to supplement a healthy lifestyle with something that could provide fast and healthy energy.
During the summer of 2013, they stumbled upon cold brew coffee. It fulfilled all their requirements for the perfect source of energy. It was natural, sugar free, flavorful and simple, but there was one significant drawback, it wasn’t at all convenient. Over the next several years their love and passion for cold brew blossomed yet so did their frustration with the lack of convenience and availability.
Using themselves as lab rats, they became obsessed with creating the highest quality and most convenient cold brew coffee possible. In 2016, Bizzy Coffee was launched.
Bizzy coffee is only 2 ingredients: Coffee and Water. They don’t use any preservative or pasteurization in brewing the product. BIZZY is sealed for freshness with a foil seal technology. Before breaking the seal each bottles lasts for 1 year. To make your perfect cup of BIZZY Coffee in seconds mix 1 part BIZZY Concentrate with at least 2 parts water or cream
Below is a quick Q&A with Bizzy co-founder Alex French.
Talk about the journey to actually launch Bizzy. It took a couple of years to perfect the product what were you focused on the most in that time?
From start to finish it took us over two and a half years from the idea stage until the launch of Bizzy Coffee. In the beginning, we were scratching our own itch by brewing up coffee for our own personal consumption. At the time, we were training for a 24-hour obstacle race, had a group fitness company and were working corporate jobs…so we weren’t sleeping much. Because of our busy lifestyles we were constantly in need of energy and because of our training we wanted healthy options, but the options at the time all had significant drawbacks. It was right when we started brewing coffee for ourselves that I got a new job at General Mills and started looking into the industry and market opportunity. I quickly realized that this was a huge opportunity. It was at that time that we started thinking about our hobby as a business. Hands down, the majority of the time was spent on perfecting the flavor and the process. Our product is pretty unique, it tastes absolutely amazing, but it also is shelf stable which means it does not need to be refrigerated. The amazing thing is, we do this without any additives or pasteurization, which is very difficult to accomplish. Once we had the product down, we then needed to create a brand and raise money to launch the business.
These two aspects also took significant time as we wanted to build a brand that stood for something more than a traditional coffee brand, we wanted to give back in a big way, which made it difficult to raise capital. Most investor are focused only on the business and industry economics and care little about the brand. Eventually we found some investors that believed in our vision for the future and loved our product, which brings us to today.
Bizzy was a part of an interesting incubator called FOOD-X. What was that experience like and how did they help create Bizzy into what it is today.
I remember it clear as day…we received a phone call on Friday asking if we still had interest in the program, we had three Skype calls back to back, negotiated, and then quit our jobs the following Tuesday. The really crazy part was that we were living in MN and the accelerator was in NY, where we knew nobody. The accelerator invested capital into our company and all of this was required for initial creation of the product.
Because of this, we ended up sleeping on the floor of the office and got gym memberships down the road to shower and workout. Working out is something that helped us keep our sanity during this period where we were working +100 hours/week and literally sleeping in our office on air mattresses we had to blow up every night after everyone left the office.
All in all, the experience was incredible. Not only did the accelerator push us to go full-time on our business, but it gave us the vote of confidence that we were onto something big. The accelerator was similar to others where mentors would come in and talk on a given subject and then you would get time with that mentor to discuss your business and their topic of expertise. These were invaluable and we use much of what we learned and strategies from those mentor sessions today. Specifically, we learned a lot about SEO, content marketing and fund-raising. If anyone reading this ever has a chance to participate in an accelerator I HIGHLY advise doing it. The experience is incredible and the relationships built are long lasting.
What makes coffee organic and what value does that bring to the product and to the consumer?
Organic coffee is different than regular coffee because it uses pesticides and fertilizers that have been approved as organic certified. That means they are not introducing unwanted chemicals into the plant, soil, water, or anything used in growing and producing coffee. It also involves having an organic certified supply chain. Every step in the process of making the coffee uses the proper materials, equipment, and procedures to never introduce unwanted and harmful chemical to the coffee. For the customer, organic coffee means you are getting a safe and quality product that is grown and produced to the healthiest, organic standards.
The coffee industry is pretty massive, that means a bunch of competition. What does Bizzy want to be known for and how does Bizzy take on that task of breaking into the coffee game?
The coffee industry is massive and has tons of competition. In business we call it a Red Ocean because the waters are bloody, meaning there’s a lot of competition. Knowing this, we wanted to take a differentiated approach and carve out our niche within a blue ocean, which is clean and clear. At Bizzy, we create USDA certified organic cold brew coffee concentrates. We’ve specifically chosen the concentrate market because there is much less competition and is harder to enter due to shelf-life issues. Along with having less competition in this market, we also believe it to be larger because it not only can be consumed as a lower cost daily coffee, but it also can be easily used as an ingredient in protein shakes, smoothies, cocktails etc…
At Bizzy, we want to be known for energizing others to Get Bizzy and make a difference. Throughout our journey as millennial entrepreneurs, we’ve learned that like ourselves, most of our peers want to live a fulfilled life which includes giving back to the broader community. Our goal at Bizzy is to be the energy source – both mentally and physically – for the next generation of movers and shakers.
One of the most interesting things Bizzy is doing is actually becoming its own accelerator of sorts. Can you talk about The Bizzy Project and its mission?
My co-founder Andrew and I have always been passionate about giving back. Whether it was volunteering, mentoring, or donating cash we always prioritized it, and when we started Bizzy we wanted to make sure to incorporate giving into our business. In the early days, we researched all the different giving models that existed but none of them seemed to align well with a coffee brand or our goals for the business. After personally participating in several business competitions and an accelerator program we noticed that there was a fundamental flaw in the system – the winners/participants were chosen by a small group of judges that all had their own biases, which many times meant that the best idea/business never saw the light of day. As we continued to brainstorm we couldn’t stop thinking about the success of shows like Shark Tank and Dragon’s Den, then one day it hit us, what if the viewers decided who got the money? The Bizzy Project was born. The easiest way to think about it is if Shark Tank and American Idol had a baby it would be The Bizzy Project. Essentially, our community of Bizzy People submit their ideas/projects to us, our team votes internally for the semifinalists, and then the community of Bizzy People vote for the winner.
We take what matters to you – your project – and we make it ours too by a pledge to support you. Our goal is to help you pursue these aspirations through the natural energy provided by our delicious cold brew coffee and the $5,000 financial fuel we’ll grant you.
Because we know that a little help goes a long way. Because we know that sometimes, all that stands between you and the realization of your dreams is someone who believes in you and willing to bet on you. Everybody stands for something. Everybody has a project waiting to happen. We want to know what yours is. We’re on a mission to help you realize your vision through The Bizzy Project.
What do you like most about social enterprise and how does it impact the way you want to do business at Bizzy?
What we like most about social enterprise is the fact that a community of strangers with common values can come together through commerce and have a material impact on the world. We believe that within the next 5-10 years all consumer brands will have a form of giving incorporated into their business in order to attract the next generation of consumers, and we couldn’t be happier about it. Our goal with The Bizzy Project, and our brand in general, is to inspire others to do things that have a net positive impact on society.
Grant is the founder of Causeartist, one of the most influential impact business platforms in the world. Since 2013, Causeartist has been read in over 150 countries. Grant has personally interviewed 700+ impact entrepreneurs from around the world, highlighting innovations in ethical fashion, climate change, ethical technology, impact investing, and sustainable travel.