Timo Muller. Founder of GRIZZ Energy Gum®, a European company founded in the Netherlands by father and son in 2021. With GRIZZ Energy Gum® we help people to stay energized during sports, work, driving, traveling, gaming, or whenever they might be in need of some additional energy. We’ve only just started but in this short time, we’ve managed to get some major partnerships with Olympic track & field athletes, Olympic teams, MMA fighters, international baseball players, football players, professional cyclists, BMXers, etc.
This is only the beginning. Whether you’re a real go-getter, top athlete, sports enthusiast, night shifter, trucker, student, gamer, pilot, construction worker, nurse, it doesn’t matter! GRIZZ is there for you!
For more details, visit their website here.
Here we sit down with Timo, to know a bit more about his journey as entrepreneur.
Q. What inspired Timo to become an entrepreneur?
Timo: Coming from an athletic, competitive and creative background I’ve always been driven by sports, lifestyle, and health. On top of that, I come from a highly entrepreneurial family. After my athletic career, I transformed into being a professional dancer and musical theatre performer. Toured Europe’s biggest stages, worked for the world’s biggest companies and artists but it was only a matter of time before the entrepreneurial spirit in me took over.
I don’t think you become an entrepreneur. Either you are one or you aren’t. From a young age, I’ve always wanted to start my own company. I’ve always had the ambition to build brands, start my own company, do business and have fun. This continuous urge, seeing the bigger picture, and wanting more out of my life made me take the step.
I live every day not like it’s my last but like it’s my BEST. I enjoy every moment, but at the same time, I’m always looking for more. Coming from this competitive background means one thing: I will not give up.
Q. How did Timo get started?
Timo: It all started with an idea of a social sports app. We developed and launched an amazing social-sports app months before COVID hit Europe. Not in a thousand years, we’d thought it’d turn out to be this major pandemic. The idea of launching an energy-enhancing product was on the shelves for late 2022 but because of the pandemic, we had to bring it forward and make this our priority. Unfortunately, we had to let go of the app, as this wasn’t going to happen (because of a loss of momentum, pandemic aftermath, and all insecurities that come with it), and shift our full focus to GRIZZ Energy Gum®.
As an athlete and as a dancer I was always on the lookout for new, relatively healthy products that could help me perform better. Give me that little extra. I heard of energy gum years ago but it never gave me that extra I was looking for. After our fair bit of research, we discovered why. Most energy gums are too low on caffeine, too many sweeteners are being used and the “wrong” sweeteners are being used. This gave us the idea to develop our own energy gums, a better energy gum.
As I stated earlier, we’ve done lots of research and tastings, with several sports scientists and food experts, and came up with a brand-new recipe and completely new (patented) production process. This way we can ensure that we have a high amount of energy-enhancing substances per piece of energy gum. GRIZZ is completely vegan and is also completely sugar-, aspartame-, acesulfame-K, fat- and gluten-free. With 120 mg of energy-enhancing substances per piece of energy gum, the least amount of sweeteners, and nice, normal-sized chewing gum we’re sure that we can actually deliver to our customers.
Q. What was your biggest startup challenge? What steps did you take to overcome it? What did you learn?
Timo: The biggest challenge was to completely start from scratch again after the pandemic made it impossible for us to carry on with our previous company. Most of our budget we’d spent on the app development, launch event, PR, media coverage, and marketing and suddenly we had to start from 0 again. Another personal challenge is patience. I’m not a patient guy, we’ve only officially launched GRIZZ 4 1/2 months ago, with great success and great partnerships but it’s never quick enough for me. I always want more.
Over the previous years, I’ve learned how to become a smart marketeer. With a little-to-none budget, you have to be smart and innovative. You have to break down walls and find the right partners who are in it for the long process, not purely financial. You have to find people who are as passionate about the business as you are and who want to grow together and succeed together. This has become my main slogan nowadays: Together we’ll grow, together we’ll succeed.
Surround yourself with the right people, smart, creative people. People who see opportunities and solutions instead of problems only. There’s so much going on in the world right now, so much negativity, when I’m working, I want to work with positive, honest people. People that lift your energy levels up, instead of dragging you down. Honesty is important and we don’t always have to agree, but we have to strive for the best. I want GRIZZ to be up there with the energy drinks. Not as a competitor, as an alternative, a completely new category.
Q. What is the Most Memorable Thing did Timo Done Since he Started your Business?
Timo: GRIZZ has been a rollercoaster so far. So many things have happened. Good and bad. I cannot tell you the most memorable thing as everything that has happened so far hasn’t even set in yet. The major partnerships with Olympic athletes, MMA leagues, and Dakar Rally racers for example, or getting into the first physical stores, signing major global distribution deals, it’s all been amazing. Once we ordered 20.000 packages and signed off the wrong language for the labels. Ending up stickering 20.000 packages by hand with my parents so we could ship them off the week after. As I said, a rollercoaster of good and bad things, but an amazing ride so far!
Q. What is one book you recommend, and why?
Timo: Funny enough this one isn’t one of the “typical” business/ entrepreneur books probably. The book I’d recommend is “Relentless, 12 rounds to success”, by Eddie Hearn.
First of all, I’m a HUGE boxing and martial arts fan. So that gets me going anyway but Eddie is a hungry businessman. His drive, his passion for the sport and business, is contagious. It definitely got me fired up and got me wanting to push the business even more.
Q. What are your top 3 favourite online apps, tools, or resources and what do you love about them?
- LinkedIn – absolutely GREAT to connect with people on there
- Analytics – Gotta keep an eye on the business and the website visitors etc.
- Meta (this way I get to choose more!) – Including WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram
Q. In terms of legacy, what is the mark you’d like to leave on the world?
Timo: Good question. The mark I’d like to leave on the world is to inspire and motivate people like the younger me. Go after your dreams, whatever people say. There’ll be loads of people who’ll try to discourage you, try to crush your ideas, and who’ll never believe in you. I want those people, the ones WITH dreams and ambitions, to read this, see my brand, and go after what they want to do. Ignore envy and jealousy, and trust your gut. Be brave but be smart too though.
Q. In one sentence, what’s the best advice you’d give to someone just starting out on their entrepreneurial journey?
Timo: Kind of what I said above. Be brave, be smart but ignore negativity. If you have a dream and a vision, go after it and go get it!