Bath Executive MBA student launches new drinks brand

Bath Executive MBA student launches new drinks brand

A University of Bath Executive MBA student has launched a new drinks brand with the backing of £360,000 of investment funding and venture capital.

Tim Chater, a student of the Bath Executive MBA course, has recently created a new drink called KOJI.

It is a naturally infused soft drink, low in calories and with no additives. The inspiration for the unique manufacturing technique came from Japan. The product is aimed at busy, health conscious consumers who want to enjoy a soft drink full of flavour but without the associated calories.

This new drink is part of Bristol-based start-up company Future Drinks Ltd founded by Tim and his business partner Luke Sapsed. The company has collaborated with well-known cider brand Brothers Drinks, to produce and bottle the drink locally in Shepton Mallet.

Despite testing times for businesses, Future Drinks Ltd secured not just the £360,000 they needed to launch this product, but also turned down funding from other sources.

Tim’s background in drinks marketing was a great starting point in developing a new product but he is certain that he would not have been credible in securing funding without the skills development he achieved with his Bath Executive MBA.

He said: “People tend to think that this is a bad time to start a new business because we are in an economic downturn and they perceive that there is no venture / investment capital accessible.  In fact while times are tough, and investment is difficult to find, it is determination, a good management team and an excellent idea that wins the day.

“In my situation with KOJI, the MBA did two things for me. First it enabled me to understand all the elements of a business plan. That may sound a bit uninteresting but I soon learnt the importance of a sound plan, coherently presented, as it is a sales document vital to engage with potential investors. Secondly, the MBA helped me understand what I didn't know.

“Ultimately the MBA gave me confidence that I could pitch the whole business idea effectively to secure the backing we needed.”

Tim’s course director, Professor Michael Beverland, has welcomed Tim’s success. He said: “The strong take up of KOJI is fantastic news - Tim involved many of Bath’s brand management students in a project looking at competitive positioning.

“The success of KOJI is testament to not only Future Drinks Company's passion for the soft drink category and this unique product, but also Tim's experience in the Bath Executive MBA.

“Bringing not only a new product to life but establishing a new venture in one of the most competitive product categories requires an understanding of marketing strategy, entrepreneurial development, brand management, consumer behaviour, operations and finance, all of which are hallmarks of Bath's world class program.”

To watch an interview with Tim talking about his MBA and why he decided to launch KOJI, please follow this link http://youtu.be/QzlDxard0Zo

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