23 Jul My Weekly Preview
Entrepreneurs are off to a flying start
What is it? Carbonated yerba maté tea
Co-founder: Shane Nettleton
Launched: June 2018
Personal trainer Shane Nettleton is known on the Coast as one of the directors of Vodka Plus, a no-carb, no-sugar, pre-mix vodka drink launched in 2016 and sold in 300 stores Australia-wide. While Vodka Plus has been an exciting venture for the Minyama local, his new startup, Maté Co2, has him equally enthused. He has teamed up with friend Darren Wallis, CEO of GJ Gardner Homes, to launch a drink he says is new to Australia.
“Darren went overseas with his partner and saw this maté was huge and everyone was drinking it,” he says. “People were replacing drinks like Red Bull with maté, because it was a healthier version. He knew I was involved in Vodka Plus, so he asked me to get involved.
“I used my connections, got the branding done, got the bottling done and went through a lot of taste tests to find the right formula – not too bitter, not too sweet. We nailed it about four weeks ago and did our first run. We’ve got a few stockists on the Sunshine Coast and we just nailed a deal with every Good Bean Australia wide.
“The whole yerba maté tea in a ready-made drink has not been done,” he says. “I said mate, look at kombucha – it has gone through the roof. This is going to be the next big thing.”
Maté Co2 will be officially launched on the Sunshine Coast in the next six weeks.
Advice to startups: “I think right now people are a little delusional when it comes to starting their own business. It is going to be hard yakka, it’s going to be setback after setback after setback, but you only need one thing to go right. We’ve found that with the vodka and the maté, we had taste testing fails – a lot of people would go ‘nah stuff it’. You’ve got to keep pushing and go down swinging. If you’re going to have a crack at it, you’ve got to go all in. It’s got to be a two- to five-year plan to penetrate the market.”