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June 6, 2019

The VentureFizz Podcast: Zak Normandin - Founder and CEO of Iris Nova

For the 105th episode of our podcast, I interviewed Zak Normandin, Founder and CEO of Iris Nova.

Zak is a serial entrepreneur with a deep background in building successful consumer products. It was his first company, Little Duck Organics, that taught him about the CPG industry and how the whole ecosystem works. This organic snacks & cereal company was a success as its products were distributed to over 10,000 stores worldwide including major retailers like Whole Foods, Target, and others.

This time around, his new company is selling direct to consumers and they are disrupting a $1 trillion dollar market. The company is called Iris Nova, which is building a platform to launch new brands. However, it is the technological innovations that are core to its strategy and their ability to differentiate themselves in a very crowded market.

For example, its first brand is DIRTY LEMON, a high-end beverage line that is the first to be sold via text message in a method that they are calling conversational commerce. Its next offering is called The Drug Store, which is a conceptual retail experience where customers pay for drinks on an honor system.

In this episode of our podcast, we cover lots of topics, like:

  • Zak’s experience in the U.S. Coast Guard, and what that taught him about entrepreneurship.
  • The background story on Little Duck Organics and how he navigated through the ecosystem and ultimately land distribution at Whole Foods.
  • The details on Iris Nova, DIRTY LEMON, and The Drug Store… and how they are disrupting the beverage industry and changing consumer buying habits through technology.
  • Why Coca-Cola’s Venturing & Emerging Brands unit invested in the company, plus other VC firms and notable names like Tim Armstrong, Gary Vaynerchuk, Kate Hudson, Alex Rodriguez, and others.
  • Advice for entrepreneurs looking to start a food or beverage company.
  • Plus, a lot more.

Did you know that we’ve published over 30 interviews with leading entrepreneurs and investors across NY tech? Thank you so much for listening. We have several more episodes coming soon, but if there is someone that you think we should be interviewing, we are always up for suggestions. Just send them to info@venturefizz.com.

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Keith Cline is the Founder of VentureFizz. Follow him on Twitter: @kcline6.