When you think about energy drinks, what are some of the names you think of?
For many, international brands like Red Bull and Monster come to mind.
Whether one consumes it during intensive study sessions, when they’re on their seventh Dota 2 match of the day, or are simply using it as a mixer during a party, the market for energy drinks is huge.
The global energy drinks market was valued at US$43 billion in 2016, and is projected to grow over the years.
What many might not know, though, is that there is a young local energy drinks company that has been quietly fuelling local students, gamers, and just anyone who needs an energy boost.
What many might not know too, was that the brand was co-founded by millennials with no prior experience in the FMCG industry.
Trading In Derivatives For Energy Drinks
Jeremy Foo (28) is the co-founder of GOshot, a smart energy drink that aims to boost the drinker’s mental acuity for up to 6 hours.
He clarifies that while it might be easier to relate to GOshot as an ‘energy drink’ akin to Red Bull and the like, the brand is more focused on the “smart drink market”.
“The blend of nootropics [in the drink] does give it quite an energy boost. So [my co-founder and I] were thinking: ‘Why not have both Smart and Energy combined to make it more multi-functional drink?'”
However, his experience was barely FMCG-related, having been a derivatives trader before starting up.
But why derivatives trading?
“It has been my interest since I was 19 and even to this day I still find it fascinating,” revealed Jeremy.
I think it’s the combination of calculated risk, discipline, and excitement of beating the market that captures my interest.
“I still remember vividly the first few attempts at trading. It was a very painful experience, but that pain definitely taught me a lot and moulded me into who I am today!”
He admitted, though, that as much as he loved the thrill that came with trading, the job was extremely competitive, and anyone could easily be fired on the spot for making any mistakes.
Worried about their son, his parents used to pass him brain supplements like Chicken Essence and Omega 3 products, but Jeremy saw “very little or no improvement”.
Being an inquisitive soul, Jeremy started digging deeper into supplements, and stumbled upon nootropics that generally help to improve cognitive functions.
With his newfound knowledge, he started creating his own “stacks”.
“[My stacks] definitely helped me gain a competitive edge among my peers,” he quipped.
Feeling confident about his creation, he shared his stack with co-founder Jacky Goh.
He and I were still working on another startup idea, however, after […] feeling the boost, he said: “Why not bring it to the masses? If it worked for us, it should work for others too.”
A Leap Of Faith After Years Of Consideration
Catching the entrepreneurship bug about a year into his trading job, Jeremy shared that it actually took him another 2 years to decide that he wanted to work on GOshot full-time.
“Naturally, my family and friends told me to stay in the trading job while running a startup concurrently, but I knew I had to leave.”
Being half-hearted in a startup gets us nowhere fast.
As newbies in the FMCG industry, they naturally had a fair share of doubters and some even told them “to get some experience first or don’t bother getting started”.
“It was pretty tough to hear all the negative feedback, but it felt really similar to what I experienced when I picked up trading,” he recalled.
As nootropic supplements taste bitter, the duo also had to ensure that their product was both palatable and compliant with regulations.
“We had to conduct tons of taste tests, and I remember friends all making faces [when they tried the first few batches].”
Getting their product into the market took them “slightly over a year”, and Jeremy credits their eventual success to “lots of trial and error, and using data and feedback to know if [they are] heading in the right direction”.
Invested Around $100k, Now Sell Over 3k Bottles A Month
GOshot was officially launched last November, and the team pumped in an investment of “about $100k” into the business.
Their marketing strategy was a mix of online (e-commerce, Facebook marketing) and offline (events, sponsorships), but perhaps one of their most impactful moves was to build a network of friends that eventually linked them up with key contacts at universities and SPH Buzz convenience stores.
Not just selling bottles of the drink, the team have also conconted less conventional ‘GOshot-infused’ products like sodas and charcoal ice cream, a first of its kind in the market.
“We were wondering what other ways we could promote GOshot while making it more appealing to the consumers. Then we got the idea: ‘What if people could eat a dessert that gives them a boost instead of the conventional drinks method?'”
Their experiment took off, and they sold “slightly over 2.3k cups in 6 days”.
“We have a great team and it would not have been possible without each one of them,” he beamed.
Currently, they move over 3,000 bottles a month, but Jeremy believes that they “can do better”. Their customer demographics are mostly male (70% male, 30% female), young (18 to 30), and are made up of students and drivers.
Still a relatively young entrepreneur, I asked Jeremy if starting up or trading was more taxing.
“Both are challenging, ever-learning, and requires lots of discipline and grit. The only difference is that each gives a different kind of life fulfilment.”
One makes a change in your personal life and in the other, you make a change in people’s life…I prefer the latter.
Check out GOshot’s latest updates on their Facebook page!