Innovator of the Week
Owner/Founder of Nobl Coffee
Please provide your 30-second pitch about your company.
Nobl coffee was founded to solve the problem of bad coffee. There is simply too much that can go wrong between sourcing and brewing, so Nobl takes care of the whole process – from seed to cup. Our coffee is cold brewed and put on nitro draft, like a Guinness, so that all our vendors have to do is pull a tap handle. Due to our cold brewing process where we steep coffee grounds in cold water for 18-24 hours, our coffee has a shelf life of four weeks, not four hours. All of these factors work towards one common goal; consistently excellent coffee.
Who or what was your best resource for starting your company?
I would not be where I am today without the University of New Hampshire Holloway Competition. Throughout the competition, I was introduced to dozens of people that were actually working in the food and beverage industry, contacts I had struggled to find on my own. After the competition, a few of the judges went on to help in really impactful ways. In fact, I just returned from a tasting with one of my judges, Joe Farro of the Tuscan Kitchen! What an incredible feeling to be able to sit in front of him as a judge last year and a vendor this year.
For later stage development, the Alpha Loft and their Startup Accelerator has proved to be exactly what I needed to refocus and overcome what had seemed like impossible obstacles. Not only are Mark and Joshua fantastic mentors, but I’m surrounded by a group of really inspiring people and companies. I’m usually the odd man out without a tech company, but you certainly wouldn’t know it by sitting in on those meetings. The whole experience at the Alpha Loft has been a critical component in realigning my strategy.
What was your biggest obstacle in starting your company and how did you overcome it?
As a one person startup, the amount of hats you have to wear can be overwhelming. In the beginning, I was trying to get so much done at the same time that nothing was getting done right. I finally sat down and made a plan of action and didn’t let myself stray from it until I had worked through every obstacle. I still struggle with this all the time, but it’s much easier to tackle now that I have a strategy that works.
What’s the best advice you have received?
Always keep perspective. It’s easy to let one or two setbacks throw you off without looking at the whole picture. What I am most guilty of is increasing my goals and then forgetting about the old ones; if you had told me 8 months ago that I would be where I am today, I would have laughed. I breezed by old milestones without recognizing them, but it’s really important to celebrate and acknowledge progress, even if it seems slow while it’s happening!
What about the NH lifestyle appeals to you?
New Hampshire is all about the people. As an owner of a cold brew coffee company, watersports’ enthusiast, and general lover of all things warm weather, I’m the first to admit that New Hampshire winters are not for me. It’s the community here that keeps me from jumping ship on those sub-zero days.
What does the future look like for your company?
Right now I’m just trying to really dial in the core customers and grow. Types of customers like offices, who are loving that their employees aren’t leaving for 20-30 minutes at a time because the only in-house coffee is a Keurig. We’ve also seen tremendous success with Juice bars, where the typical employee can require as much as 5 minutes of time to make a smoothie or juice. Having incredible coffee on tap is changing the game for them because they can quickly serve more customers and it works so well alongside their existing offerings. Our coffee is great for a lot of different types of businesses, each for their own unique reason, and it’s been fantastic hearing about how Nobl is really making an impactful difference on their businesses.
In addition to that? Always be trying new things. On the coffee side, I’m always experimenting with different single-origin coffees, natural ingredients, and more bizarre offerings; hopped cold brew, anyone? On the business side, I’m always looking for new types of vendors and customers or new places that we can help by outsourcing their coffee. This year I have everything from weddings to music festivals in the works. It’s going to be a great year!