Nexba's founders Drew Bilbe and Troy Douglas speak to the Hills Shire Times about building their beverage empire and the high school friendship that created a thriving business.
BUDDING DRINKS EMPIRE SUITS ENTREPRENEURS TO A TEA
3 June 2014
From modest beginnings, Cherrybrook’s Troy Douglas and Drew Bilbe’s business venture has become a remarkable success.
Mr Douglas and Mr Bilbe grew up in the same street and were in different year levels at Cherrybrook Technology High School.
Now in their 20s, they started their Nexba iced tea business after Mr Bilbe came back from a holiday.
“I did an exchange in Mexico and local iced tea is massive over there,” Mr Bilbe, who was a civil engineer before committing to the duo’s business, said.
“I had a yearning to do this and thought it was a really good opportunity.”
In September 2011, they set up a factory in Hornsby and introduced their product to schools and businesses in the Hills region.
They relied on a lot of support from family friends, including Mr Bilbe’s grandfather, who is in his 80s, to help them manufacture their own cans.
Today the business is based in Manly and distributes its iced tea all around Australia, counting 7-Eleven, Caltex, IGA and Virgin Airlines as clients, a remarkable achievement for the young business.
“We’re stoked to see where we have got to in this time,” Mr Bilbe said. “7Eleven wasn’t an account we got overnight. “We tried getting a meeting for 1½ years and we worked very hard towards getting them.”
Mr Douglas said as there were not many businesses in the Australian iced tea market they thought it was a great opportunity to bring a healthy, refreshing drink to the market.
They are set to continue building their business, with new green tea Brewnette set to be launched in July and they are now looking at expanding overseas.
“We’re passionate about building brands and it will be great to build our brand beyond iced tea,” Mr Douglas said.