What comes to mind when you hear “the Arnold Palmer of coffee?” In the D.C. area, many people think Javazen.
According to the company website, Javazen is organic coffee combined with premium teas and nutritious “superfoods,” including cacao and goji berries. Aaron Wallach, Eric Golman and Ryan Scheuler started the company in their college apartment while attending the University of Maryland. After recently graduating from UMD and making their first sales, the team decided to run Javazen full-time.
This summer, Javazen was accepted into the Terp Startup summer incubator program, awarding the team a $5,000 stipend and access to a co-working space, advising and startup workshops. Although it’s only mid-June, the team has already made a lot of progress. In addition to being named “Most Exciting Brand” at Green Festival 2015, the team recently won Tech Cocktail DC’s region showcase and mixer and will advance to the National Startup of the Year Competition at Celebrate 2015.
— Dingman Center (@UMD_Dingman) June 11, 2015
Javazen will stand out from the competition by being the sole food company in a sea of technology companies. In order to succeed, they “will focus more on the science behind finding synergies between different ingredients,” says Eric Golman, COO. This is the same science they once tried to sell to customers. According to Golman, “no one cares about the science. When you break down the chemical composition of each plant and how they work together people get lost. They just want to know that it’s healthy and delicious.” This has proven to be true for Javazen’s customers, but for the National Startup of the Year Competition, the science behind the drinks will keep the company in line with the technology companies they’ll be competing against.
Originally, the co-founders thought their target audience would be broad. Through extensive customer discovery they learned that their early adopter was the mindful millennial; men and women ages 18-35 that typically live an active lifestyle, reside in a city and are very conscious of the brands they interact with. The company continues to evolve as the Javazen team learns more about the industry and receives mentoring from leading experts, leading them to pivot on their long and short-term goals. Early on, the long-term goal was to get Javazen in as many retail stores as possible. But Golman has learned, “you can’t just get them on the shelves, you also have to move them off the shelves.” The company has shifted to making more strategic placement decisions, focusing on organic food stores where their early-adopters are already shopping, as well as online retailers such as Amazon.com and Relay Foods, an online grocery store. In addition to increasing brand awareness throughout the country, Javazen hopes to boost online sales in order to build a recurring, profitable revenue stream that will eventually cover the salaries of the three co-founders.