Being selected for Meet the Drapers

When the Hatch team announced that they were hosting a Meet the Drapers season 6 episode in Sri Lanka, Chanchala, a fellow food entrepreneur and friend, urged us to apply. Dulara, the Nootz founder and chef, felt that Tim Draper, who is predominantly a tech-heavy investor from Silicon Valley, would not see the value in an innovative beverage brand. Nonetheless, Dulara was adamant that the world needs to know about the world’s first, pure coconut smoothie, how it was invented and why it is important for both the consumer and the upstream communities in Sri Lanka.

From the initial applicant list, Nootz was shortlisted to pitch virtually to a panel of judges from Hatch, and the Draper Startup House . We were then informed in January that we were selected for the final 4 to go live on the episode. The other finalists included Spectrify – an artificial intelligence company, Hyperglade – a blockchain company and Rhoda – an electric motorbike company.

During the time of the shooting, the Nootz team was fresh off the product launch after nearly 2 years of R&D. The Meet the Drapers episode was the first time Nootz pitched the brand to an investor group. Nonetheless, we used the session to share with the judges what #goingNootz really meant. Apart from being a vegan, coconut milk based smoothie with tropical fruit from Sri Lanka, the Nootz ultimate mission is to create a culture of innovation rarely seen in the Sri Lankan agri and F&B ecosystem. And thereby, uplift the farming and processing communities who have long been forgotten in the unethical global value chains.

As the first pure coconut smoothie in the market, formulated using a novel sequence of technology not previously available in the region, Nootz is a testament of what determination and teamwork can accomplish. With each R&D trial costing in excess of USD 20,000 and the product range requiring multiple R&D trials to perfect, we were confident that the our efforts will not be in vain. During the episode, we conveyed to the judges that the Nootz natural MCT fats were not found in other plant-based milks and Nootz is a beverage with just 3-5 simple organic ingredients and no preservatives – a revolutionary approach in the ready-to-drink, shelf-stable segment.

Alongside Tip Draper, the other two judges were Love Yadav, an ex-investment banker and investor, and Yureni Noshika, Sri Lankan actress and media personality. Although Nootz was not selected as the episode finalist by the judges to go to the finale in the US, we are seeking for fan support to vote for us to be catapulted back into the finale.

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November 15, 2023