StartUs Presents: Queal

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Queal wants to simplify your life by providing quick nutricious shakes. Let's hear the juicy details from CEO Floris Wolswijk!

Describe Queal in 50 words or less.

Queal is a quick, tasty and complete meal replacement shake. It solves the problem of eating healthy in the limited amount of time we have today. Sounds familiar right?

Why did you decide to pursue your own dreams rather than someone else’s?

Building a company is an exciting road to take. One in which you very directly see the results of your efforts, or not if you don’t do anything. I’m constantly learning and would be miserable in an office job. It’s also the freedom to pursue your own goals that makes working on a startup that much more fun. I also have the pleasure of working together with a friend of mine that I have known for over 10 years. Together with our employees we are changing the world, one shake at a time.

7 years from now: How did your startup change the world?

People have an easy and healthy nutritional option in their house, combining the best of both worlds. People don’t always have the time to cook a healthy meal, many people don’t even know how to make a really nutritious meal. At the same time we are bombarded with adverts for McDonalds, and drink large cups of sugar, like Starbucks Frappuchinos. In 7 years we believe that everyone has the ability to not have to choose between time and health. We will have a quick, tasty and complete meal for millions of people, ready for when they don’t have the time.

In what ways do you measure your success and how do you make sure you don’t lose track?

On an individual level we glow with joy when we positively impact the lives of our customers. At a business level we measure the growth of our company on a monthly basis. This is what drives us each and every day and keeps us from going off track. All our other goals are aligned to keep growth going as fast as possible.

Describe your typical working day from coming to the office to leaving it.

Customer service is the number one priority. On average we answer questions within 1 hour and are also very active on twitter. After that we start the rest of the day with a meeting about our top priorities, give feedback and get back to work. Yesterday we filmed a Tinkering Thursday video, worked on the website and organized a testing of (top secret) new flavours. Other tasks of course also include communicating with our partners, doing some bookkeeping, and on Fridays (or if we work late) having some drinks.

Already pivoted? Did customers use the meal replacement shakes like you imagined it in the beginning?

No pivot here. Our customer base has grown from the early adopters with a very technical background to a diverse group of people ranging from top athletes to busy consultants. A big portion of our customers drink Queal 1 to 2 times a day. They use it in their morning routine or when working late at the office. Quite some people also drink Queal 3 times a day, and yes, that’s very much possible.

Bootstrapped or financed: What fuels your startup now and what will in the future?

Bootstrapped. Started really small and used our cash flow to scale up quickly. In the future we don’t see an immediate need for financing, but are also not opposed to it. We will be fuelled by Queal and will continue to invest back into the company. I also believe that giving back to your customers and continuing to innovate is very important.

With ferocious competition and a booming trend to build new companies: How do you make sure you don’t get lost in the shuffle?

Southwest is an airline that is competing in one of the most low-margin businesses possible, yet they are making a profit. They do this by offering the very best service possible. At Queal we do the same thing, being always available to our customers. Package lost by the postal services – a new package directly on its way. A question about being diabetic and using powdered foods, we will give you the answer (it’s perfectly fine). In the end we believe that this is the way to spread the word about Queal: happy customers.

What do you look for in team members?

Fitness and certain capabilities. I think that foremost our team members should also believe in Queal, not only what it wants to provide (quick, tasty, complete meals) but also the way we do it (best service and recipe). After that comes the capabilities of a team member. We can train you quite a lot, but you need to know the basics before you join our team.

Why would a talent join your team?

We grow as fast as we can learn. And I think the same goes for talents that might join our team. You can leverage your skills and at the same time learn so much more. We have a lot of experience as entrepreneurs and we have a lot to share. And we have a positive cash flow, so you don’t only have to work for the experience. And Friday drinks of course!

What was your most memorable moment so far?

Passing the 100k in sales. It marked a point for us that we were really doing something very well. We know there are other companies that try and do the same thing as us, but after that mark we were sure that we are the ones that know how to really do it. We now mainly compete with ourselves and try and be a little better each and every day. On the day itself there was some champagne involved and not much extra work was done after that. The very first memorable moment was drinking the first version of Queal, that’s where it all started.

What advice would you give fellow founders for their startup?

Persistence is key. If you know that your idea is good, something that will improve the world, you can beat through the doubts and setbacks. But if you don’t have your ‘why’ figured out, you won’t be able to go through the different forms of ‘what’ without losing faith. Second I believe that you should just go for it. Without getting your feet wet you only have an idea, and without feedback you will not learn. So get out there and believe in yourself.


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