When Alex Drysdale started Crik Nutrition, a cricket-based protein powder supplement, he figured he had a great idea. When media outlets like BuzzFeed, Forbes and CNBC came knocking before he even had a website to direct them to, he knew he was onto something big.
“I wasn’t ready for it, it happened really quickly. That very day I was doing interviews, it was immediate,” said Drysdale.
But before and after the media interest, the entrepreneur scene around North Forge in Winnipeg helped Drysdale through the crucial validation stage in his path from idea to product launch.
“Having a mentor is crucial – especially in the validation stage. They are very good at making you prove your idea. The most important thing was the tough love I received. Giving me context, feedback and taking me seriously.”
The North Forge startup program aims to help you understand every detail of your product and proposed solution before spending big money on your idea, with subject matter experts and mentors who have gone through the process.
“Bouncing ideas off people is great, but these people have tangible experience delivering business solutions. It’s a support system, with daily or weekly meetings and contacts in the community of experts. You’re tapping into everything that’s going on,” he said.
“Through the entrepreneur community in Winnipeg, everyone was extremely generous with time and advice. They were able to help me work through problems, introduce me to people who were instrumental for us – they really care.”
Having a successful Kickstarter campaign also helped build outside interest in his product. He worked with a local PR person with media contacts to get the word out for Crik Nutrition and was quickly featured as one of the world’s hottest 20 startups by CNBC and on the homepage of MSN.com.
For Drysdale, crickets can be the “gateway bug” to insect-based protein. Getting over the “ick” factor is surprisingly easy as Crik’s flavours are on par with any other mainstream protein powder on the market. To finalize the formula, Drysdale sought out a team of scientists who specialize in formulating top-selling products for national brands.
Once your idea is in place, Drysdale suggests entrepreneurs be ready for the press, and to know the ins and outs of your business. That way, when funding is in place, you can push a button and go.
“Make sure you know all your costs, know your timelines and know your contracts. Be 100 per cent confident that you can do it and use your mentors for advice.”
Crik is sold via criknutrition.com and the warehouse will typically get the order to anywhere in the continental U.S. and Canada within 24 hours Monday-Friday. They ship internationally, too.
Drysdale is excited for what’s next for Crik Nutrition, as he works to launch two new flavours, expand online retail avenues and create new products.