Imagine a drink that had all the benefits of booze without the hangover. Well, it exists, and today I’m talking to the founder.
Jen Batchelor is the CEO (Chief Euphorics Officer) of Kin Euphorics, which she co-founded with American supermodel Bella Hadid.
Launched grassroots in 2017, the non-alcoholic, mood-boosting beverage is made with a combo of functional ingredients (nootropics, adaptogens, and botanicals) that enhance cognition, boost immunity, and fend off stress.
Basically, the brand offers adults a clean alternative to alcohol, and I’m a BIG fan!
In this episode, I chat with Jen about how Kin Euphorics came to life. You’ll hear how she teamed up with an a-list celebrity, raised over $15M of venture capital, and carved out a completely new market category.
Key Takeaways from Jen Batchelor of Kin Euphorics
Jen Batchelor of Kin Euphorics on Positioning Your Startup for Private Equity
Jen Batchelor Inspiring Quote
Adam Robinson: So, I’m going to read your bio in a different place, but long story short, cool drink brand, Latino woman who has raised over $15 million in venture capital. And Bella Hadid is co-founder. So, this is a rare combination.
First of all, what is the Bella Hadid thing about? How did that happen? And everybody wants to know, like, how do you get someone like this to work with you? What is the deal? What are the economics of getting an A-list celebrity to work with you? Has it been worth it? What do you have to say about this? Tell me everything.
Jen Batchelor: I have been asked this question at least 25 times since we announced the partnership. And being me, I want to be able to help people to craft their strategy as closely. And I am an open book, I will tell you everything. But I can say it’s going to be really tough to recreate the partnership with Bella. And I’m not just saying that to be coy. I’ll tell you from the beginning how it worked, and then see for yourself. Net net, if I had to answer it in five words, I would say, make a great f*cking product and put it up there. I think that was it.
Adam Robinson: Or don’t even try. Focus on other stuff.
Jen Batchelor: Yeah. So, I didn’t even try. I think being an innovation product and something that was really intent on changing the game, I didn’t want to pay a single influencer for their testimonial or their promotion. I’m like, if I’m giving you money, you’re swayed to say something about the brand, and yes, that’s Marketing 101. But at the end of the day, I legitimately want real feedback about this product so we can make the best product possible.
Adam Robinson: And has that happened in reality? You don’t pay influencers for UGC or whatever?
Jen Batchelor: We had not paid a single person up until the point where– so, Bella and I met through Ari Emanuel, the real Ari from Entourage. And he called me up or he emailed me and his office set up a call for us. And I was like, I thought I was being punked. I wrote my director of finance. I’m like, I guess, let’s take this call as you haven’t.
And it was Ari. And we got on the horn with him, and he just said, look, like not only do I think what you’re doing is next level. He’s like, I’ve been sober X amount of years. I want to personally back this brand on its own merits.
Adam Robinson: Yeah.
Jen Batchelor: Also, have this tier-one celeb that I adore who happens to adore your brand, and to the point where she built a deck to explain to him why she thought it was the perfect partnership for her, which blew him away. And so, that’s why he personally got…
Adam Robinson: She is working in PowerPoint, like…
Jen Batchelor: Google Slides is her preferred.
Adam Robinson: Yeah. That’s awesome. That’s not something that I would– I don’t know much about her, but it’s just hard to imagine. It’s like you assume that they just have people doing all the stuff for them, right? Like…
Jen Batchelor: Yeah. So, I guess you have a couple of things going. You have a great product that someone who happened to be a celeb happened to love. You have a global pandemic which perhaps gave her a little bit more time on her hands, and she anticipated to make a deck, to begin with, which got this to result…
Adam Robinson: To start a global pandemic.
Jen Batchelor: Yeah, start the global pandemic, and then just be open. I mean, there are so many emails that I get that I think are spam. And we really leaned in here and we said, “Hey, Ari, by the way, we don’t have a dollar for celebrity endorsement,” like people have celebrity money. I’ve never paid an influencer. And he’s like, “Look, this is not that. We want to provide value to you, guys.” So, I stress-tested it as hard as I possibly could. And Bella and I talked, and then we probably got to know each other for 10 months before we actually signed any documents, so.
Adam Robinson: That’s wild. I’m not a celebrity, but I consume a lot of the product.
Jen Batchelor: You do. You are definitely one of our number one customers, definitely our number one Austin distributor.
Adam Robinson: Distributing right into my pantry in my boat for August to enjoy it.
Jen Batchelor: BYO Euphorics. Kin Kin. Cheers.
Adam Robinson: Cheers. Yeah, I don’t have any here at the office. And has it been worth it? I remember there was the day that Beebs broke your internet.
Jen Batchelor: Yeah.
Adam Robinson: And as I put in my notes, people ask me, like, I spent $800,000 buying Retention.com. They’re like, “Holy sh*t, $800,000.” I’m like, “Dude, every single person that I tell what my company is called, their face changes.” Like that’s happening every time they see the word written. There is an assumption that I have a thousand employees, not six. This is helping me into so– it’s like I have been able to recruit people in the last six weeks that are of a caliber that I never would have been able to touch if my company was called GetEmails, which it was until eight weeks ago. Do you feel that way about this?
Jen Batchelor: In a sense.
Adam Robinson: It is the same type of question. Like, is it worth it? Like, blah, blah, blah.
Jen Batchelor: Yes. To your point, there is a certain amount of value to this that’s intangible. However, when you do have Justin Bieber saying, this is my absolute favorite drink, like point blank. He’s not like this is my favorite drink because my friend is part of it. No, he’s like, my friend turned me on to this and I love this sh*t. You guys have to go and find it. We didn’t pay him. Obviously, he did even tag the brand. So, it was as organic as it possibly can get.
And so, there are little intangibles like that that just by the virtue of Bella being a part of it, she just emanates this Kin energy to people. Rihanna is a huge fan of the product, which tickles me, too, because she’s a cannabis user, this is public knowledge. And she loves the balance feeling that she gets from having a spritz and a spliff. It’s like the perfect combo for her, so.
Adam Robinson: Nice alliteration as well.
Jen Batchelor: There you go. I know, we might have to put that on the menu, but I think net net, it’s not about celebrity, it’s about like literally the hardest working people, the most creative people on the planet that make their living being creative, getting out on stage. It’s an adrenaline rush. There are so many layers to these high-performing, highly creative people. And that’s who we created this product for. Whether you’re Rihanna or Adam Robinson, you’re thriving because you’re getting a boost to your brain, you’re getting a creative, a fire lit under you throughout your day. And that makes you a better human, I think, I hope. That’s the goal, at least.
Adam Robinson: I mean. I love it. I love this and other things. Like, you know that I just all of a sudden stopped drinking when I turned 40, unplanned. And I haven’t started and I’m turning 42 in a week or whatever. This movement, which you are stoking, I mean, I just can’t even like– everything in my life is so much better than when I was just lazily drinking every day and getting hammered every other weekend or whatever.
Jen Batchelor: Yeah.
Adam Robinson: And like these products just make it– like last night, I was craving a nonalcoholic beer, not a beer. I was like, I want an athletic brew right now. Like something about my throat needs that hazy IPA flavor. And we’re just so habit and addicted, and like, everything else. And, like, it’s just so nice to have these things that help you do it. And no, they help you be sober, it’s like other stuff along with it too. I think it’s true.
Jen Batchelor: They mix up even tastier, even if you’re not “traditionally” sober or abstaining for any reason, it’s like the fact that I now am not having three glasses of wine a night, which is easy to do, especially living in New York. I mean, those days…
Adam Robinson: Oh, my goodness. I mean, that’s why I drink every day because I live in New York for 15 years. There’s nothing like this. You just are not incredibly proactive about it. That is your life because that is what you’re around, right?
Jen Batchelor: Yeah, it was until I did the math. And I’m like, wow, I’ve had 23 glasses of wine this week.
Adam Robinson: So, my story about this is a survey that went around the trading floor at Lehman Brothers when I was 26 or 27. And the first page of questions was about your alcohol consumption, the patterns, frequency, quantity, setting, all that stuff. The second set of questions, the second page was all about the sort of tangible effects it has had on relationships, people bringing drinking to your attention about yourself, and all that stuff. So, like hit submit, and I was a really, really functional drinker. I’m way more functional now, but like I was very functional as someone who drank a huge amount, it turned out.
And you do a survey like that, and it’s like you drink more than 99.9% of Americans. That’s what it told me. I was like, holy f*ck. And like, I don’t know how much it was. It was like, I probably had a normal night, was like finished work at 5:30, go to the bar across the street, have two beers, then have a vodka soda, then go to dinner, a cocktail before you sit down waiting for the table.
Jen Batchelor: Table 1.
Adam Robinson: Two or three glasses of wine, nightcap on the way home. That’s so normal.
Jen Batchelor: Totally.
Adam Robinson: That is a huge amount of alcohol for a normal person. And I got seven nights a week, and not even when the Saturday night comes and you’re having the best time in the world that your friends, they just like send it till four in the morning, which, like, whatever.
Jen Batchelor: 100%.
Adam Robinson: It just happens. But it was interesting that it’s like you drink more than 99.9% of Americans, but you would not clinically be considered an alcoholic because you’ve never missed work. Like, no one’s brought this to your attention. I think, if that survey was drawing the line at when it starts eroding trust and reliability in your life, if you don’t stop or somehow curtail it, which if it’s eroding trust and reliability in your life, curtailing it, I don’t think is an option. I’ll be totally honest. You just watch it. You watch what it does to people who are at that point. Anyway, that’s my version of what you just said.
Jen Batchelor: Taking stock. We don’t get that opportunity often enough. To your point, we don’t have, it’s not a mandate of our friends, especially if they see you “thriving” by all accounts.
Adam Robinson: Yeah.
Jen Batchelor: It’s like, who am I to tell Adam what to do? He’s f*cking…
Adam Robinson: I mean, and like, I remember what pops in my head when you say that, when we were 25, 26-year-old guys, living with these Goldman and Lehman guys. We were all crushing it as traders or whatever in New York. And one of them saw a therapist, and the therapist was like, you need to quit consuming substances if you want this to do anything because otherwise, you’re just in this, you’re unable to step outside of your own life and be reflective if you’re consuming this. And we’re all like, that goes f*cking, it was like, that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. What does he know?
And as this sort of wiser 40-something person, it’s like that’s one of the most obvious statements I’ve ever heard at this point because alcohol sort of just reduces your time horizon or smashes time to zero, backwards and forwards, or whatever. Okay, enough on sobriety. Thank you for what you’re doing. I really appreciate it.
Jen Batchelor: Of course. And the only reason why I bring it up or belabor it is because it’s very interesting to see, to bring it back around to Bella. Bella is somebody who grew up in Hollywood. She grew up in Malibu, but she grew up in this scene where it was totally normalized. But she came back around the other side because all of her best friends had gone into recovery by the age of 18. They were even in the drinking age, they had gone through rehab or sober, boom.
So, now, she lands herself the spot where she is a rising star. She’s had more Vogue covers and gone. And she’s in New York. And her job literally requires her to be this social butterfly. But because of her anxiety around substance use and her anxiety around this default mode of drinking and drugging, that is the truth of these environments. She wouldn’t leave her house, like the social anxiety that she had that I’d never experienced.
But here’s one brand, one product, one formulation that has helped her with her social anxiety. It has given her an excuse to level up in a way that feels authentic to her and still lets her go out and have fun. And for me, it was like, all right, this helps me take a break four or five nights a week.
And so, we all have different stories. We all have different reasons why we come to these solutions or this work for, in my case, but they’re all valid. They’re all valid, and I think the reason why we named our company Kin is because our intention is to bring people together, and for us, to feel like family because of our challenges, because of the things that are like interest.
And I think people had a hard time feeling seen with some of these conversations, the conversation we’re having now. So, yeah, we’re really proud of being able to come together and address a number of issues and a couple of different audiences too, because clearly, she’s young and she’s a Gen Z. So, we’re straddling.
Adam Robinson: Well, I’m proud of you two.
Jen Batchelor: Thank you.
Adam Robinson: So, your brand hit on social media is sick. Helen just sent me this really awesome-looking email, like the design aspect of it, it’s just incredible. Who are you working with here? And is it one team that is the design side and one team that is the awareness and deployment?
Because for instance, I just started this founder brand stuff. And I don’t have time, I don’t understand the organic social machine at all. And I don’t have time to give it any attention, except for Monday mornings when my calendar is empty. So, I’ll get sent hooks, I’ll write bullets, I’ll record video, I’ll put a video on YouTube, and then people make it newsletter content, LinkedIn posts, like whatever. And then they know what to feed the machine, when to make it work.
You’re aware, like there’s not a person in my world that I mentioned Kin and they don’t say I’ve seen an Instagram ad or whatever on it, right? The brand recognition is incredible. So, how did that happen? Who were you working with? You know what I mean? My brand doesn’t have that recognition. How did that manifest itself?
Jen Batchelor: It wasn’t…
Adam Robinson: Is that priority? Was that a goal? Like what…
Jen Batchelor: Definitely, for sure. Yeah, I mean, you think about who you’re up against at that time. We’re up against O’Doul’s and some alcoholic, nonalcoholic options. So, for the listeners who aren’t familiar, we did launch grassroots in 2017, so commercially, 2018. So, we’ve been at this for about five years.
And what I noticed five years ago before the term sober curiosity was a thing, before anyone gave a sh*t about this from a cultural perspective, we needed to make this option aspirational for people. We had to make it sexy. We had to play where people were conversing, and where people are conversing was Instagram, especially then. It’s evolved, and we’ve since evolved our strategy a little bit.
But the point being that we wanted to go as deep as we possibly could on a narrow strategy where we knew our target audience was playing. And how did we know? We threw up some test ads early on, not your grandma’s mocktails with a really chic ad. Somebody dialing a number, dial here to find out more. And that was it.
I mean, we did over $3 million in sales our first year, just off of pulsing, little mysterious, sexy ads and content to storytell around how cool it is to think about this in a new way, to have functional ingredients at our disposal that had never been thought to show up at the bar or be offered at the bar. And so, we knew we were doing something revolutionary. We had no idea if anyone would care, but…
Adam Robinson: Did you have the sheen of the brand from day one? Did they all look awesome? Or were these original things, like sort of gray, weird, and provocative in a different way?
Jen Batchelor: Yeah. So, here’s what I didn’t do. The smartest thing I did was partnered with a group called RoAndCo. It was an all-women-led, all-women creative agency that had only ever done fashion and beauty. And I said I want the sleekest, sexiest chick as a brand. I don’t have any money. I literally have enough money for a logo.
Adam Robinson: People love that b*tch. It’s like, I want the best thing you could possibly give, and I don’t have any money to give you.
Jen Batchelor: I’d said I have no money, maybe for a logo and a label, but I promise you, this is going to blow up and I’m going to give you all of my business to launch it. And so, we did a preamble. They took me on, which that’s such a no-no for a branding agency that’s worth their salt. They want to do a whole brand idea for you, and that is the right way to build a brand.
But they trusted me. They knew I had a vision. They knew I had a story, and they honored me. They brought in a freelancer. My friend Rebecca, who was running the company at the time, is just also a visionary. She had had some beverage experience before Budweiser, but she just knew. We saw each other in this vision and got a banging prototype together.
And from that, I slapped together a photography team. We did one campaign that lasted us the first six months, frankly, got some funding off of that, got some funding off that early data. And then I gave them a $200,000 campaign not long after that, so.
Adam Robinson: And then what about the stuff that’s inside the Kin? Who made that? Did Matt make that? Did you make that?
Jen Batchelor: I know. So, it’s a brainchild of my now husband, Matt Cauble, who is a co-founder of Soylent. So, Matt already had this framework in mind. What does it take to create something that is run of the mill, basically? It was a protein shake for all intent and purpose and bring it into the now and introduce it to an audience who’d never thought protein shakes were sexy.
Adam Robinson: Right.
Jen Batchelor: Telling a new story about nutrition. Telling a new story about this futuristic world in which we don’t need food, you literally only need this thing. So, when I came to him with this concept of, like, look, alcohol is on the was. It is such an archaic technology for getting home, for feeling good.
Adam Robinson: Totally.
Jen Batchelor: I really want to create something. And I was thinking about it more as a stress reduction solution, like I was focused on stress reduction. So, adaptogens are my vibe, using plants and herbs that were helping us to recalibrate lower cortisol. And for him, having come from Silicon Valley, this sort of tech world, he knew that nootropics were the future.
And between the two of us, thinking about the philosophy and how we needed to bottle it to appeal to multiple audiences and actually elicit an effect, we came up with this thing. Now, from a formulation standpoint, Matt is, he’s the voyeur. He’s the one who’s like, f*ck it, let’s put nicotine in there. Let’s play with all these other ingredients that never in a million years would have shown up in a beverage. Let’s be nondiscriminatory about this. And it just happens.
Adam Robinson: It doesn’t have nicotine. No, it doesn’t.
Jen Batchelor: No, it doesn’t. No. In one of the original formulations, he also put cannabis in there. And I mean, I was feeling like a million bucks, but we knew that that was too big of a hurdle to jump.
Adam Robinson: Yeah, just like whatever.
Jen Batchelor: We kept it pretty tame but still functional.
Adam Robinson: And then, like, I’m just trying to imagine where this actually happens, is it in a garage somewhere? Are there places that you go to do chemistry mixing? Where do that…
Jen Batchelor: Very sophisticated, yeah. And I would love for him to do a podcast just on this topic because what Matt always taught me was just…
Adam Robinson: Hey, I think I can get him on.
Jen Batchelor: Yeah, you get him on. You know how to reach him.
Adam Robinson: Yeah.
Jen Batchelor: But we had essentially a benchtop lab that he set up with some friends in the basement of his house in Seattle, literally. And it was really impressive. I mean, it had all the things that we needed just to come up with something that we could test ourselves. And then, there were some labs and partners that we worked with to make sure that we had the best of the best of the ingredients at our disposal.
We were working with nanoemulsions and nanolipids, and there were some equipment that we needed for that as well. But nothing can beat an actual proper lab. At the end of the day, we were very lucky to get in front of some of the world’s best nutraceutical firms. Yeah, it didn’t happen overnight. Trust me. It was a confluence of having a great story, having traction, and knowing who to ask.
Adam Robinson: Sweet. I did not know that. I would say how I wish we hung out more with you guys. When we do hang out, I feel like there’s very little– for the amount of time that you and I and Helen as well, like spend working, like relative to the amount we talk about it when we’re together. At least you and me, I don’t know, maybe talk about it more with Helen or something, I don’t know. But I don’t know why that is, but it’s just not something that strikes me as something that I want to be talking, I don’t even know.
But I know just from what limited conversations we have that the fundraising journey, in particular, sort of with this recent market turn has been tumultuous for you. Can you take us on a brief roller coaster, on what that was sort of like? Yeah, I remember also just talking to Matt. He’s like, yeah, he’s doing it. And then all of a sudden, they’re on this VC journey that I didn’t want to be on with Soylent. And I’m just like, I can’t emotionally take it anymore.
So, what does that mean– I mean, I really don’t even know because I’ve been a bootstrapper, I’ve watched people do it. Apparently, Matt’s like it’s way worse in the beverage space because it’s intrinsically a boring space, and the venture people don’t get that and they call it. So, like…
Jen Batchelor: Well, it takes long, it takes really long. And I think when you have VCs that historically have invested in tech. And that was our challenge. We couldn’t get a single beverage investor to back us in the beginning because who knew what was going to happen with this product, very much an innovation product.
The people that wanted to back us were the people that trusted Matt to bring an innovation to market. They thought, oh, there’s this cute girl next to him that knows how to market things. That’s fun. So, that worked in our favor. And I think that was great. I mean, we’re forever grateful for those folks that took a chance on this. The inherent challenge being that, so what were they investing in? They were investing in tech.
Adam Robinson: And what stage was that? What did you raise a few million bucks after you sold some whatever? What are the milestones? I don’t know if publicly or not, whatever. What can you sort of…
Jen Batchelor: It was literally idea and a model. We had an idea, a model, and a benchtop sample that we would take to meetings, and they were stoked and they understood the opportunity from a macro perspective. Yeah, people are thinking less. And it took another year for the World Health Organization to say– and by the way, they’re drinking less, like this is not a fad, this is a trend. They’ve been drinking less for 10 years. And 10% of the world’s drinkers have essentially disappeared overnight, what it feels like. So, where is that market share going?
But the VC rollercoaster, it starts off fine. Like you’re taking off and you’re excited and it’s all well and good because you have the money to experiment, to play, and you have people that trust you in that. It starts to get dicey when people need quick returns, not to say those initial investors do. I will say they’ve supported us the whole way through.
But when you get people excited tangentially from that sort of core group of people that are used to getting returns in three to four years because these tech companies are just selling like hotcakes. The exit schedules are just so much more accelerated than a beverage which can take 10 years to build.
Adam Robinson: Totally.
Jen Batchelor: Ten years and $100 million, it’s just a very expensive endeavor. So, I think we were lucky to get the innovation out. We were lucky to be able to prove it in mass. But then we had the sort of tailspin of COVID and a global pandemic, changing the dynamic of our business model, changing, as you mentioned…
Adam Robinson: And what does that mean? Were you more physical, and then you had to go fully VC? What is changing the dynamic of your business plan?
Jen Batchelor: No, the plan was always to launch online, activate our early adopters, make sure that we had data to support where we would then go from there to become a grown-up beverage business. You got to sit on the shelf, right? So, can this online data, can the e-comm data guide us towards where to live and play, whether that’s a physical market, like an actual geo-targeted market like L.A. or New York or the Midwest, whoever knows? Or is it nation…
Adam Robinson: The metaverse.
Jen Batchelor: Natural food stores, or yeah, do we expand beyond beverage? I mean, we left ourselves super open just as we did with the first formulation. That was totally feasible before we had a pandemic, and then everyone doing online. We were digitally native. We were ready that year to expand into our retail strategy and wholesale strategy. And the world said, oh, you’re going to triple down on what you’re doing well online. That worked in 2020. In 2021, we’re like, no, no, no, this is our tipping point. We got to get out in retail, and the market just had a major slowdown, so.
Adam Robinson: Market for what?
Jen Batchelor: Everything. I mean to have a really smooth transition off of e-comm, when it was the most expensive environment of all time, I mean, starting at the tail end of 2020 with the election, that started getting out of hand. You had the iOS 14 update, no longer could we retarget which is really important for our business.
Adam Robinson: Hey, I have a great product for this called meta persistent audiences.
Jen Batchelor: Nice. Sign is up, seriously. Because for us, we really need that second, third, fourth touchpoint. It’s like, oh, you think Kin is sexy, awesome. It’s also really functional. It’s also effective at providing you something that you’re going to want to come back to every day. It’s hard to tell that story in one ad.
And so, we knew with the amount of brand awareness we had gotten to after three years on the market, we needed to sit on shelves. And we knew that based on the velocity data that we were seeing at some of our retailers. That was a steep climb in 2021 with supply chain delays, a number of things. But Kin was still sexy enough to garner a ton of VC interest, especially towards the end of the year.
People are interested in what the Bella numbers were. They were interested now to see where we were expanding from like an offering perspective with the new SKUs we’ve launched. So, the roller coaster started really getting wonky. We sort of did that 360, upside-down, spin-a-roo earlier this year when we started talking to a private equity firm. We thought, well, this is our time.
Adam Robinson: And can you disclose what is like a revenue range when you’re playing between these worlds? When does a PE shop start being like, you know what I mean? I’m saying it’s like, okay, the venture is like, I have an idea, and then you launch it, like maybe whatever, I don’t even know what it is. But when does a PE– is it 10 million bucks, 20 million bucks? When does like a D2C founder think I should start talking to PE people?
Jen Batchelor: Hopefully, never. I thought never because what should happen at that point, the traditional, and mind you, we do everything in a nontraditional fashion. So, I’ll tell our story, but it’s not the standard. By the time a private equity firm is looking to acquire you because they know, they have a plan for you and you want to exit. You should, by that point, especially in this environment, be a profitable business and you can sell to whoever the f*ck you want.
So, that’s the other thing with, and mind you, there are some great PE firms out there and what they’ll do is they’ll come in and they’ll say, great, you’ve built a great business. Revenues are such or margins are such that we know with our network, we can operate this business and take it to the 10th degree, to the 10x what you’re doing. So, there’s no real magic number. I think it really is maybe a few sizes of all the deals, the average is like $30 million in revenue. We weren’t…
Adam Robinson: Yeah, so like 20, 25, you’re starting to think about, I’m not a capital-intensive found– like I know when the numbers start getting, there’s like a valuation hurdle at $10 million. There is a valuation hurdle or there’s like a revenue multiple hurdles at 10 and at 20, and then maybe at like 50.
But I also have to have 50 employees and $30 million in revenue to get that. So, there’s these like kind of things that I know I’m going for to sort of be able to relax a little bit, be like, okay, there’s at least some amount of tangible value here. It’s not just like people are going to just shut me down because of all of these reasons they love to tell you to f*ck off or whatever. So, $20 or $25 million, you’re starting to think, what am I– I now have the ability to explore other avenues than just people who take mega fliers on crazy ideas.
Jen Batchelor: Right. And mind you, I feel confident I can share the CPG numbers and also, that it’s a much longer tail, typically. You typically don’t have a business that’s doing $10 million their first year or $50 million the second year. I mean that is on your way to unicorn status. And even that is a question mark.
When we started our business, sort of the golden boy beverage was that Bai coconut water brand, B-A-I. Then they sold for north of a billion dollars. That being said, the company that acquired them has not been able to scale that and grow that 10x. So, when deals like that started to happen and then quickly fizzled, that ruined the opportunities and changed the dynamics for all beverages going forward. Add to that, what’s happening with the market, it really, for us to sell our business for 3x revenue, 10x EBITDA, I mean that’s a huge win. And I’m telling you, that’s not a billion dollars, right?
Adam Robinson: Right.
Jen Batchelor: But it’s providing value for your shareholders and your investors. And it’s giving you the runway to keep evolving the business, whether you want to be involved in it or not. I think most people at this stage are like, all right, cool, I did the damn thing. I’m going to wipe my hands and go and do something else.
Adam Robinson: Totally. Is that how you are feeling? Are you actively trying to find someone to do this and move on?
Jen Batchelor: I think, for me, and you know this, I just had two kids in under two years, my priority is my family. And so, if I can provide…
Adam Robinson: Don’t blame me for that.
Jen Batchelor: If I can provide value for my family, and that’s not just financial, but it’s also my time, my energy, my love, that’s going to always be my priority. That being said, I’m not saying, if I separate the two and you ask me just about Kin, I have another 10 years of work to do on Kin because I don’t trust anyone else to take it where I think it can go.
Adam Robinson: Yeah. Like if it were set up the right way.
Jen Batchelor: Exactly.
Adam Robinson: You know what I mean? And I don’t know whether this is going to resonate with you or not, I am having so much fun with this right now because my hope and optimism in the future have the trajectory of it over the last three or four months. It’s exponentially higher than it was the previous three years or whatever. However, this is the second before I have a 10x staffing thing that I’m doing. So, like…
Jen Batchelor: Changes.
Adam Robinson: If I knew, and by the way, right now, this is more fun than any of us have ever had. It’s so great, it’s working so well. Everybody’s just like, this is amazing, but I would love to be able to preserve that energy. I think a lot of people that have been down the road that I’m about to go down would say there’s a very low probability that you will preserve that energy by rapidly expanding your stuff like that.
Jen Batchelor: Exactly.
Adam Robinson: So, yeah, I mean, I totally get what you’re saying. In the right form, it would be amazing to keep doing it. If this thing starts beating on me instead of serving me, then my opinion of it is going to totally change.
Jen Batchelor: And that’s your answer because, at the end of the day, there are different size strategics or different size PEs with different philosophies and different goals. And I think, should someone come to me tomorrow and say, hey, Jen, I’ll buy you out for $10 million, but I still want you to stay on. We’ll pay you a million dollars a year. I’m just throwing around numbers out there, but we’ll pay X amount.
Adam Robinson: I like those round numbers, nice round– is everybody listening? Investors, are you listening?
Jen Batchelor: Exactly. For those of you who have been calling me up recently, here’s the deal. Yeah, we’ll pay you the X amount to stay on and help us continue evolving this and building this into the future, but we’re going to operate it. We’re going to blow it up. We’re going to stress about who to pay and how to pay them. So, that to me, dream, right? I didn’t get in…
Adam Robinson: You’re not like the CEO anymore.
Jen Batchelor: Yeah.
Adam Robinson: So, I somehow convinced this guy to join us. And he’s working into a full-time, probably co-CEO or COO role or something like that, which I didn’t even know was kind of possible for me at this point just because no real person joins a six– you know what I mean? And this guy built these massive B2B data companies, and I’m not kidding you like everybody who interacts with them is just like, he is to say, like every question that we have about this next phase, he has an answer for it.
And he’s interviewing five people a day for us. He’s providing insight into what is good and bad about hiring people in different countries versus each other. Product, he knows everything about. Building engineering or like, the only reason that I’m doing this is because I have so much trust in this guy’s proven track record. And I just feel like what you were just saying is if you could be in the role that I am now doing some podcasts for your customers and posting on LinkedIn, like I haven’t interviewed anybody by the way. We have extended 20 offers to people in sales and marketing customers, or like I haven’t interviewed a single person. I’ve hired for unrelated to that rapid expansion that are taking things off of my plate.
But that, kind of like Bella Hadid, though, I don’t know if it could be recreated. I reached out with this guy looking for a mentor, and then he just started talking, and I was like, I see these advisory roles on your LinkedIn. What does that look like? Is there any way that you could just tell me what to do? That’s all I need. I just don’t know how to do this next thing.
I’m looking at the companies that you’ve done this for. You’ve taken them from this stage to unicorns five times. Can you just tell me which way to run? And like, I would have never done this. I would have kept bolting on lone wolves and just had this cash business or whatever. And I feel like the reason why is because I’m just deathly afraid of exactly the situation that you’re describing. You know what I mean?
For instance, it’s like, when should we get a financial controller? I’m like, what does a financial controller do? I have no idea. It’s just things like– and then I think you summarized it so elegantly. It’s like the decision on who to pay and what to pay, it’s just the whole thing. And if you do it right, it creates this really beautiful, virtuous cycle. And if you do it wrong, you’re whacking people once a year. And I’ve been on that side of it a couple of times, and then this time, we’ll see what happens. But actually, I just can’t believe the type of people that are wanting to join us and know about us. It’s amazing, so.
Jen Batchelor: I mean, it’s a testament to building a great product and asking. It’s the same thing we said about the formulation. Building a great product and knowing who to ask what. It’s like if you don’t have that or you don’t try, it’s uphill the whole way. And hiring the wrong people, I mean, you’ve been there, I’ve been there.
Adam Robinson: Oh, my gosh.
Jen Batchelor: It’s not just the financial expense, it gets emotionally draining.
Adam Robinson: It’s just so the builds, and nothing against the people. It’s just accidentally putting the wrong person in the wrong role.
Jen Batchelor: No, it’s my bad.
Adam Robinson: And the agony of dealing with it. So, we can wrap up quickly. How much time elapsed between the birth of your first child and your first work call? I love this.
Jen Batchelor: Six hours.
Adam Robinson: Yeah, it was pretty fresh.
Jen Batchelor: Yeah.
Adam Robinson: So, six weeks early or something, just like out of that. I mean…
Jen Batchelor: Yeah, no one was ready for her to come, my first one, least of all myself, because I was in the midst of a deal. Actually, this was the WME deal backing the Bella partnership, and they didn’t find this out until about a year and a half later. They’re like, Jen, you need to stop. We would have waited, but there was no waiting. It’s like, who else is going to take the call?
So, sometimes, you just got to get the damn thing done. And I thought it was going to be that mom that was like maternity leave or die. But the reality is, in the position that I’m in and the way that I feel about this work, it all goes to the same place. All this hard work is for her. It’s for Rocky. So, it’s like, why? If it’s not killing me, which frankly, it’s not, I have a lot of good help, I need to just stay present, and that’s my lifeline. And I provide value to her when I’m energized and I’m in the pocket. Yeah, so that’s kind of my M.O. I know that’s not a very popular opinion for sure.
Adam Robinson: Well, I think it’s great. I think it’s honestly, either it’s just so every life in every situation is just so unique. It’s like you know what’s best for you. The problem is when you don’t and you’re conflicted about it and it’s causing all sorts of tension in all of these different relationships in your life. So, wrapping it up, one marketing tip that you write on a billboard for everyone to see being the cute chick that markets stuff according to these VCs.
Jen Batchelor: One marketing tip, holy moly, find your people.
Adam Robinson: I love that one.
Jen Batchelor: I mean, it sounds so rudimentary, but if you don’t, everything you’re doing is totally jacked, like it does not matter. You can have the most beautiful campaign. You can have the perfect video, a frickin 3D Bitcoin hologram. If it’s not being targeted at the right person, what is the point?
Adam Robinson: Yeah. The three rules of direct mail. The list is the most important.
Jen Batchelor: There you go.
Adam Robinson: The offer is the second most important. Third is creative, and it’s a distant third.
Jen Batchelor: Yeah. It’s so true.
Adam Robinson: Love that. Okay, final five. Favorite book?
Jen Batchelor: Ooh, God, I have so many. It’s so funny. I have this one in front of me right now, The Pocket Thomas Merton. Let’s go with that. This is a good one.
Adam Robinson: What is the essence of it, Pocket Thomas Merton?
Jen Batchelor: Spiritual guidance inspired by the Shambhala.
Adam Robinson: All right.
Jen Batchelor: I will say the go-to, I think the one book that I gift often is the Bhagavad Gita, and it seems like a spiritual book, but I swear to you, it’s also a business book.
Adam Robinson: Yeah, well, somebody gave that to me, one of my employees seven or eight years ago. She gave me it, and I didn’t read it cover to cover. I need to, I’m going to read it now.
Jen Batchelor: It’s a how-to-do-like book. One of the biggest tenets from that is probably good marketing advice, too. It’s like know thyself before you perform action. It’s the same thing as know your people, but it’s about knowing yourself. And I think that’s half the battle as well.
Adam Robinson: Indeed. I have a CEO who were like the person that you’re following that you think is a person of interest to you, like a figure that is influential on your consciousness.
Jen Batchelor: There are two people, one, Dr. Andrew Huberman, who’s a neuroscientist at Stanford, has incredible– if you don’t follow him, I highly recommend it. It’s always with him Food for Thought that’s fully backed by science.
Adam Robinson: Great podcast on alcohol, by the way.
Jen Batchelor: There you go. Yes. I’m so happy that he…
Adam Robinson: Three hours just– and there’s not a good thing to say about it. And like, the scientifically bad stuff is so fascinating. The interesting thing to me was chronic, this way less frequent and less quantity to have negative consequences than anyone thinks, even drinking a couple of times a week, your cortisol levels are way higher than if you drink once every three months.
Jen Batchelor: Yeah, so hard to recover from. And what I love about it is that it’s not, he’s like meaning doesn’t want to be your mom in the corner telling you what to do. He’s just telling you what’s what. And you can do what you will with it. And then SJ Simmer, who I think is somebody who I would love for her to be more vocal about her story. I mean, she shared her story, but she’s based in Austin. She used to be the COO of Bumble, has an incredible story, tons of fortitude. I mean, she’s the CEO of a company called Found now.
Adam Robinson: Randal works for her.
Jen Batchelor: Yeah, exactly. She’s super inspiring. I love her. And she happens to be a Kin investor.
Adam Robinson: Yeah, cool. We know you’re married. We know you have kids. You live in Austin, Texas. And favorite vacation you’ve ever been on?
Jen Batchelor: Oh, my gosh. I mean, Matt and I just went to Charleston, it sounds like– so, it’s just Charleston.Anybody can access it, but I feel like it is such a secret. It’s like a little hidden gem. It’s so charming, so much history. It’s got it all. I really love that trip.
And then I think there was one trip when I was a kid. My parents and I went from Morocco to the south of Spain. And it’s just one of the most memorable trips I’ve ever been on. And it was just the three of us. And we always refer back to that trip. So, there’s something magical about it. The scenery, the food, yeah. We’ll recreate, we’ll try to recreate it for my 40th because you can actually take a train across to Gibraltar.
Adam Robinson: Oh, cool. I didn’t know that.
Jen Batchelor: Yeah, and the visuals are just stunning, like it’s just next level.
Adam Robinson: I’m in.
Jen Batchelor: Cool.
Adam Robinson: Pack these eight-week-old babies up and let’s go.
Jen Batchelor: Let’s do it.
Adam Robinson: Well, this was awesome. I mean, I just am so grateful that you took the time to share all this stuff.
Jen Batchelor: Of course.
Adam Robinson: Such interesting stuff for my community, which is people like you that I’m trying to like do this for, so.
Adam Robinson: Amazing. Thank you so much.
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