Troy is the Co-founder and Co-CEO of Nexba, one of Australia’s fastest growing beverage brands. Troy leads the global expansion of the brand, infusing his passion for innovation and healthy living to take Nexba’s Naturally Sugar Free movement beyond Australia. Rapidly expanding in the European market Nexba is now stocked in major retailers in the UK including Sainsburys and WHSmith.
Troy, alongside his Co-founder and brother-in-law Drew, were inspired to innovate and shake up the high-sugar and artificial-laden beverages market in Australia after seeing the devastating impact of diabetes and obesity on people at home, and around the world. From humble beginnings selling iced tea from the back of a van in Bondi, Sydney the pair are now approaching their tenth year in business with consistent 100% YOY growth and major stockists nationally including Coles, Woolworth’s, 7-Eleven, Caltex, and more.
A celebrated entrepreneur Troy was recently named in B&T’s 30 Under 30 Awards for ‘Entrepreneurship’ and was also honoured in the Forbes Asia Top 30 Under 30 list in 2017. Nexba was recently awarded The Australian New Product Innovation of the Year Award in The Australian Brand Awards 2019, and are multi-time winners of the Telstra Business Awards.
Tell us about Nexba. What inspired you to start Nexba?
Nexba’s story actually started on a beach in Mexico back in 2010 when my mate (who’s now my brother-in law!) Drew was on holiday, sipping a homemade drink and pondering the connection between the huge soft drinks market and the growing obesity and diabetes epidemic – as you do!
It got him thinking. He’s an innovator at heart and he wondered if there was a way to make a natural, healthy drink that tastes just as good as the sugary, artificial ones that dominate the market. Drew came home from Mexico determined to see this idea through, so he asked me if I wanted to come along for the ride. Together we turned that teeny tiny seed of an idea, into what’s now an award-winning business that’s making an impact on people’s lives around the world. It’s a great story.
Tell us about your career and background.
I’ve always been a go-getter and particularly passionate about brands that have impact and purpose. Drew and I started Nexba when we were both just 23 and 21 so my career history prior to that is brief!
At 14 I worked at Gloria Jeans. At 15 I become the manager of that location but was ultimately dropped as the new management thought I was too young for the role. Not happy about that, I followed the previous management to The Coffee Club and then Event Cinemas Gold Class in management roles.
After high school I went on to study my Bachelor of Communications & Bachelor of Law. During a tutorial a guest lecturer, Sharon Williams CEO of Taurus Marketing, really opened my mind to the world of business. I went up to her after the lecture and asked if she’d consider me as an intern. I offered to be an intern for a week – I had a mortgage at 19 so wasn’t in a position to work for free!
I went on to work with Sharon for nearly 3 years before I thought I should use my degree and give the law a crack, so I got a job as a paralegal with Allen & Overy for a short while. After 4 years of University and being inspired by incredible mentors at such a young age, turning 21 I felt confident enough to jump into business with Drew and we kicked off Nexba! I truly believe there’s never a ‘right age’ to become a founder. When the idea is there, you make the rest work.
Describe a typical workday for you.
6am: Wake up, morning coffee, sit on balcony watching the sea for 15 mins and visualizing the big actions for the day
6.30am: Exercise hour – Pre COVID this would have been either F45 or Barry’s Bootcamp on route to office, but during COVID we are running our very own Wellness Wednesday sessions for the whole Nexba team with virtual classes each week
7.30-11am: BIG strategic actions time. Emails off, no meetings. Pure focus.
11-12: Lunch – usually something simple like fish and salad, washed down with a Nexba of course…
12-5pm: Will be filled with meetings & calls
5-6pm: Time with Husband (usually hanging out whilst cooking dinner together)
6pm: Meeting and calls for our Nexba UK business growth and global expansion
7pm: Dinner with husband followed by Netflix & Chill out time
9pm: In bed!
What advice do you have for those wanting to start a business?
- Wait for the right idea. You need to really love and be passionate about the idea even before contemplating starting to build a business. The drive from the idea has to come before the drive to start your own business. If the drive comes from the idea, you instantly become more authentic.
- Build your personal & business community. Success is the by-product of doing business right and networking is so important. Whether this helps out a week from now or ten years down the line you never know when that network is going to come in handy – from investors, to employee recommendations, its critical. Nexba wouldn’t be where it is today without the amazing people we’ve met along the way who are now our biggest champions.
- Think divergently and invest in your financial education. It’s not sexy I know. You don’t need to be a financial whizz but understanding business models and different industries financial setups will allow you to ask better questions and to challenge what is normal so you can create something that drives value to your consumers.
What’s next for you, and Nexba?
Global domination baby! We’ve built an absolutely cracking team and are growing by the day. Our mission continues to be to reduce the amount of sugar and artificials in the world’s diets and to become the No.1 Naturally Sugar Free brand worldwide.
My personal current focus is in securing the right strategic growth capital partners who will join the next phase of scaling the business and realising this vision with us. As the unprecedented impacts of COVID-19 subside, I’ll be leading our global expansion following successes both at home here in Australia, and over in the UK. Watch this space!
About Nexba: https://www.nexba.com/pages/the-nexba-story
About Naturally Sugar Free: https://www.nexba.com/pages/naturally-sugar-free