Rasmus Wrang Andresen, Rasmus Vestergaard and Martin Folden from Ziropa
July 11, 2022
BY Nina Lyhne
Meet Rasmus, Rasmus and Martin:
Co-founders of Ziropa – a startup that produces syrup for drinks, lemonade and coffee made from natural ingredients
Rasmus Wrang Andresen is Ziropa’s ‘numbers guy’. He is in charge of the company’s finances and studies Management Accounting and Control at Aarhus BSS on the 8th semester
Rasmus Vestergaard is Project Manager and studies an MSc in Innovation Management and Business Development at Aarhus BSS on the 8th semester
Martin Folden is in charge of marketing and studies an MSc in Marketing at Aarhus BSS on the 8th semester
They met each other during their bachelor’s degree and founded Ziropa together in 2018
How did the idea of becoming an entrepreneur arise?
As young bachelor’s students, we often warmed up with drinks at home before hitting the town or going to a party. The ratio between liquor, syrup, soda etc. hardly ever fit, so we often ended up with something left of one ingredient – therefore, we got the idea of creating a package solution for making your own drinks. When we started looking into it, we realized how expensive it was to buy the syrup, and also, we discovered that they were often filled with additives. So we decided to start making our own syrup, which would both be cheaper and taste better.
How did you get started with your entrepreneurial journey?
We started out at home in our own kitchen – and when we grew out of that, we came to The Kitchen, where we now have our production in ‘Snedkeriet’.
It took a long time to develop the recipes, and also, our concept has changed a bit along the way. In the beginning, we focused on syrup for cocktails – then corona came, and we started focusing on syrup for ice coffee. Today, we mainly focus on syrup for lemonade, and our customers are primarily cafés and restaurants.
For us, cold canvassing has been the way to move forward. We have stopped by all bars, cafés and coffee shops in Aarhus to sell our products. But many of them already have distribution agreements with larger brands, which has made it difficult to enter the B2B market.
What has been the biggest challenge in the process?
You are faced with so many challenges when you run a food business and it has been an enormous work. There are a lot of documentation and paperwork. But The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration has always been very welcoming and helpful.
Durability of our products has been really hard to specify. Pricing is also an issue – especially because we don’t have any one-to-one competitors to compare our price with.
Corona was also a challenge which forced us to change our focus – but of course, this has been a challenge for all businesses!
What does a typical workweek look like in relation to combining your startup with
During the semester, we have one specific day each week which is dedicated to work on the startup. We all have different areas of expertise, so we split the different tasks between us – and we have just hired our first employee; a young worker to help out with our production. On average, we probably spend two days a week working on Ziropa. And then there is always a lot of e-mails and phone calls in between that we have to deal with.
During the summer vacation, we focus 100 percent on Ziropa. And this fall, we are all doing an internship in our startup, which means that we get the chance to dedicate a whole semester to work on the company – that’s something we really look forward to!
How do you use your academic skills as an entrepreneur?
Our studies provide us with some valuable tools, but as long as we are on an early stage working mostly with proof of concept, we do not use our academic skills that much. For instance, it doesn’t make sense to make giant market surveys at the moment. But our academic knowledge and skills will probably come in handy as the company starts to grow. And of course, we do use our different skills to some extend: we can use our math and economy skills for making budgets, accounting etc., our marketing skills for branding and sales, and our knowledge about innovation and business development can be used in product development.
Where is your startup today, and what are your dreams for the future?
We have started looking more into the B2C market. Among other things, we are going to have a stall at the Ingerslev market the whole summer, and we are also going to both Food Festival and one of Denmark’s largest wine festivals: Christiansfeld Vinfestival. Here we hope to reach a lot of private customers with samples of our different products and inspiration on how to use them.
Furthermore, we are developing new recipes, for instance for mocktails, which is a growing market.
We think it is amazing to see our own product from beginning to end – it is really something special! And it is awesome to have made it all with your own hands. Hopefully, we will be able to make Ziropa our living when we graduate – for a start, our goal is to be able to match the job seeker’s allowance for new graduates.
Your best advice for other students who are considering becoming entrepreneurs?
Ask for help! People are so nice and eager to help. For instance, the startup Backpackerlife and other entrepreneurs from Kitchen have always been ready with good advice, when we need it. Even our suppliers have been very helpful to share contact information on other suppliers if they could not meet our demand. And don’t be afraid of launching your product at an early stage – it is the best way to test it and an opportunity to make improvements based on the feedback you receive from the customers.