This is the first post of a series where fans can learn more about the Ambronite team. We interview each other one-on-one, and keep it as open and honest as possible. The first post of the series is Simo's interview written by Mikko.
During the journey with Ambronite, I have had the chance to get to know Simo, my co-founder and friend, and we’ve had many interesting conversations outside of work. I think one of the best parts about being an entrepreneur is that you can choose the people you work with. It's truly been a privilege to be able to work with Simo and our other outstanding team members. I decided to sit down with Simo to have a chat about his background, values and ambitions.
Simo, I know that you have a fairly international background, can you expand on this?
“That’s true. As a kid, around 6 years old, I lived in Africa and Nepal. I went to kindergarten in Zimbabwe for two years and started primary school in Kathmandu. The first language I studied at school was English, but we also studied some basics in Hindi and Nepalese. Today, I often reflect on how much that experience has shaped me. I continue to look for adventure. I think my kid-self is well reflected in me today.”
Right now our Ambronite team is living in San Sebastian for five weeks, as part of the Dig Eat All accelerator program, which focuses on food start-ups. Simo tells me that it feels very natural to sit on balcony in Spain and do this interview, even though we’ve only been here for a day.
What makes you smile and full of energy all the time?
“That’s a really great question. I’ve been asking myself this since I was a little kid. I have always felt like doing wacky stuff even when everything around was serious. I want to bring the best out of the people who I spend time with.”
I think the following really describes Simo’s personality:
“Whenever you are with a group, there are always two types of people. The ones who take everything for granted; and the others, who have the balls to question what is happening around them, and to have fun in that very moment. I like to try and have fun with what happens around me, and very often, this makes the whole experience more enjoyable for everyone, and also makes the first type open up and have fun with me.”
I was happy to get to know to you on Aalto on Tracks, a journey of a lifetime. Aalto on Tracks was very personal for me, as I was the chief organizer of the trip. You’re one of the few, who also participated in Aalto on Waves and Aalto in Africa. These trips had a huge impact on me, I’m wondering how they’ve changed your perspective on life?
Aalto on Tracks was a unique and passion-based learning experience organized by Aalto University students, where we rented a private train and travelled almost 10,000 km from Finland, through Siberia and Mongolia, to the World Expo in Shanghai, China in 2010. There were nearly 100 students and professors on board.
“Aalto on Tracks was a hugely impactful journey. Many of the things I have been looking for were brought together by all of these trips. They opened my eyes to how differently people manage their lives. Every one of the Aalto trips led to a random collision with extremely interesting people.”
“I think one of the important things, was not having an Internet connection or Facebook on the train. People tend to cling to technology, because it’s sort of a support pillar and keeps people within their comfort bubbles. However, being face to face without the possibility of escaping the tin can, really opened up the channels to make real friends during the journey.”
“Most importantly, Aalto on Tracks was crucial to forming the Ambronite team, and that impacts my life every day. I’ve sometimes wondered if my life would have been the same without these trips.”
I know you have a special connection with nature, done quite a bit of hiking and guided hikes as well. How did this build up within you and what is it about nature that invites you back time and again?
“My first hometown is Lapland, Kemijärvi, above the polar circle. So it’s clear that the root of this calling to nature is in arctic north of Finland. I think it began when my dad would take me on wilderness hikes to pick berries and see birds and animals. Ever since, and as long as I can remember, this has been an integral part of my life. Nature connects me to my inner self, brings things into perspective.”
“I joined scouts when I was 6. It is an experience where a small kid is given a lot of responsibility. When I was on 7th or 8th grade, I was a patrol leader in our scout troop and took care of weekly meetings and organized hikes and camps. This was powerful in shaping my personality. Also, it’s has been a significant volunteering experience; to share a common goal, and bring out the best in people in many ways. That also led me to guide outdoor expeditions in Lapland later on. I really enjoy interacting with people through transformational experiences like these, and especially ones they've never expected to have…”
I’ve noticed that an integral part of how I lead my life is memorizing and repeating different mantras and aphorisms, which help me to stick to the values I have in life. Do you do this? What are some you’d like to share?
“This one I really like, but it’s not so easy to translate into English, in Finnish it’s ‘Tosissaan, mutta ei vakavasti’. Something like “Be earnest, but never serious”. Even as a kid, when I hadn’t heard this yet, I still used this lens at the playgrounds. And that really hasn’t changed at all, to be honest.” (Note from Mikko: Simo just bursted in laughter after saying this :)
“Definitely, during my adult life becoming a better version of myself has been one of my key mantras. Finding that honesty. Always looking for version 2.0 and 3.0 of myself.”
“Paying it forward is one great value I also try to live up to. First of all, everyone has something to teach you. That has always been essential for me, always keeping that thought close. Expanding on that, many of us might need a nudge to get there. The potential to give and learn are very interconnected. The people who are keen to learn also seem to be the ones who are constantly giving and passing it forward. To me, that has shown in volunteering and of course in entrepreneurship, and everyday life, really.”
We’ve been drinking Ambronite every day at the office for lunch. But when it is not Ambronite, what does your daily cooking look like?
“I’m a really big fan of raw and smokey stuff. I love stake tartare and cold-smoked salmon. These are the staples that I like to keep in the kitchen. Much of my everyday cooking is inspired by hiking, by the simplicity when you cook in the wilderness. Very straight forward, doing honour to the flavours of every ingredient, without soaking them with a strong combination of spices. My all-time favourite food is self-caught wild perch pan-fried in butter: simple and tasty”
What do you look forward to with Ambronite over the next 6 months?
“From a personal point of view, I’m really keen on meeting our fans and especially our crowdfunding backers. I’ve already had a chance to talk with many of them over phone, when we sent out the first samples, as a part of our customer development process. Such great stories and personalities. I’m really looking forward to understanding how their daily routines are combined with Ambronite.”
“Also, it will be great to hear people’s feedback when they receive and open Ambronite boxes. I’m really looking forward to someone making an unboxing video! :-D”
Whoa, that was quite an interview. I hope this gave more personal touch about the people behind Ambronite :-)
Many of you are curious about how we develop our recipe and manufacture Ambronite. Here's a brief post about how we do it.
You are what you eat
First of all, we have one fundamental belief and guideline at Ambronite: You are what you eat. You should give your body everything it needs and nothing it doesn’t.
This leads to our core principles in recipe development:
These are values that all of the Ambronite co-founders already shared before we started the company. We asked ourselves would it be possible to have all the essential nutrients from one drink without adding a vitamin pill or other nasties? Ever since proving this to be possible, we have been perfecting the product and recipe. When we set up the company, we didn't want to downgrade the guidelines at the least.
Hard science & having fun in the kitchen
Before the mixing of ingredients in the kitchen can happen, we make careful calculations to ensure that new iterations also fulfill daily nutrition recommendations. Even if it might seem like random mixing in the video, there are many days of pre-work done before the actual kitchen day.
Besides iterating with the ingredients, we know that there is always time for some amazing dance moves, as you can see in the video. Having fun helps you stay focused.
One significant factor that defines the taste of the product, is where the ingredients are sourced. As an example, there is an immense difference in the quality of oats, plus different variations and particle sizes of each ingredient. We have been fortunate to have knowledgeable partners to help us with that.
After the recipe is finalized in the kitchen, there is a significant amount of work to translate that into manufacturing scale. We source the ingredients, work closely with our manufacturing partner and make sure to prepare everything from labels and sourcing to mixing and final packaging.
Sometimes our fellow food entrepreneurs are shocked when they see that we use more then 20 ingredients, all of which follow the above core principles. They are amazed at how we can manage to source all of them. But then again, if it were easy, anybody could do it ;-)
Ambronite in the future
We developed Ambronite for like-minded, ambitious people, who know and care about their health and time. That’s the way we want to keep developing Ambronite in the future. Thanks to close interaction with our customers, our feedback loop is simple. We are developing a product we use every day ourselves. Ambronite enables us to lead an unlimited life!
On Sunday, September 28th, lots of active and healthy people gathered to celebrate Lorna Jane’s Active Nation Day. Events took place all around the world. In Finland, exercise lovers enjoyed their Sunday at a brand new fitness center in the heart of Helsinki, Elixia Kamppi. The purpose of Active Nation Day is to inspire women to be active and live the best quality of life, which is something we at Ambronite also strongly believe in.
During the event, we spread our inspiration about healthy lifestyles by talking with people, who share our ideas and vision about good life. Arno gave a speech on “You Are What You Eat” and introduced the key elements of Ambronite’s story and philosophy. We handed out samples of the latest edition of our Ambronite Supermeal, and just as we hoped, it sparked some very interesting conversations in the crowd. This is how we receive valuable feedback about the taste and structure of Ambronite, and also get new ideas for its use.
The Active Nation Day concept was launched two years ago and it seems that people are genuinely interested and inspired by the vision it spreads. This is something that makes us at Ambronite happy, because we want to see and experience a healthier and more active world, where people go after the impossible.
Enjoy life and follow your dreams,
Arno & Assi
Five weeks in San Sebastian, Spain and it feels as if time has flown by at the speed of lightning. While it seems like we just got here, much has happened during the Dig Eat All acceleration program. We got a wealth of tips from many experienced entrepreneurs. Special thanks goes out to Iker Marcaide, Chris Muscarella, Jon Tien and Xavier Orriols, whose presentations and mentoring I personally learned a lot from.
I'm happy to say that Dig Eat All was a very unique experience. First of all, having a very specific focus on the food industry deepens the relationship between the teams and enables you to learn from each other, more than in a traditional accelerator. Secondly, Dig Eat All was truly special, since it brought together international teams and placed them within the relaxed lifestyle of San Sebastian. The teams were from four different continents, spanning the world over, from Australia to the U.S. and from Hong Kong to Thailand. San Sebastian is very peaceful, which let me have the right environment to focus and be productive, without being stressed at all.
Tip of the Iceberg was an amazing extra-curricular program the Dig Eat All guys had put together. It included activities such as a morning hike with Edurne Pasaban, the first woman to reach all eight thousand peaks in the world; or enjoying dinner, drinks and playing guitar with Chef Andoni Aduriz, whose Mugaritz restaurant has been ranked 6th best in the world.
Finally, Ambronite team sends the warmest of hugs and gratitude to Leire Mancisidor, who was responsible for organizing the Dig Eat All experience during 5 weeks. It wouldn't have been such a wonderful experience without the way Leire took care of the program and each team's needs, always with a smile and kindness.
If you are a co-founder at a food startup, I really recommend Dig Eat All and will be happy to share my experience in more detail.
Enjoying the beach final last time. Adios San Sebastian -- I'll be back!
Ambronite was selected to join the Dig Eat All acceleration program, designed specifically for food tech start-ups. We just finished our first week in San Sebastian, Spain and we're extremely impressed. The program is held in the ultra-modern facilities at the Basque Culinary Center. Dig Eat All provides both business and research & development expertise, and we're especially excited about their insights on our recipe development (as you can see in the photos above).
With over 100 international applicants, Ambronite was one of the eleven teams selected to join the program. We're honoured to be part of such an enthusiastic group of people. An eclectic group of entrepreneurs from around the world, who are innovating in a variety of areas, from 3D food printers and mobile payment apps to superfood snacks, private chefs to your home and locally produced food. For example, if you fancy meeting new people, while eating great food, there is Feastly. One team is even making ice cream that can be exported in liquid format, thus eliminating the cold-chain. This is an amazing experience for Ambronite, and the location, Spain, has so much to offer!
Are you from Spain and interested in Ambronite? We'd love to hear from you. Stay tuned for more photos and updates on our progress in the program.
Our campaign is finally completed, thanks once more! We raised $102,824 USD together with 800 backers around the world, and broke the Indiegogo all-time record for crowd funded food products. Over half of the backers came from the U.S. and the next most backers came from Finland. Without you we wouldn't be where we are now.
We will produce the whole crowdfunding batch of Ambronite in Finland, unlike initially planned. We look forward to opening the US production next year. Of course, we will still keep our promise of free shipping to the US (in addition to Finland) even though the cost for us is heavy. All backers will receive further instruction during the next few weeks from Backerkit, which we use to manage crowdfunding orders.
Super exciting greetings from the Ambronite team.
Great news! We're happy to tell that Ambronite was just featured on TIME Magazine by Alexandra Sifferlin who covers all things health-related on TIME. Alexandra appreciated the fact that Ambronite's recipe contains real food ingredients instead of fake stuff or powdered supplements.
Alexandra's favorite recipe was Ambronite with orange juice and her colleague Kelly Conniff commented that Ambronite tastes like a smoothie she made herself.
Read the piece here:
Mikael Mäkinen from Four Sigma Foods tasting Ambronite
We took part in the Upgraded Life Festival in Finland, which is the biggest two-day conference in the field of health, wellness, biohacking, wearables, quantified self and internet of things. The two days were packed with keynote speakers and innovative companies in the field.
We handed out over 100 samples of Ambronite and ran out of them in a few hours. We blended a special mix of Ambronite with avocado with some ginger and cocoa milk - a savory fan favorite with a hint of bitterness to top off the smooth flavor. Many festival guests came back for another cup.
Our crowdfunding campaing will be running for three more weeks. We just topped $70,000 and are getting closer to our first stretch goal: sending out free recipe booklets at $80,000. Exciting times!
Ambronite crowdfunding goal on Indiegogo topped $50k
Dear friends, Thanks to your overwhelming support, we topped our $50 000 crowdfunding with flying colors a mere week after launching - and even got featured in Indiegogo newsletter to hundreds of thousands of crowdfunding enthusiasts - Hooray!
Your support has been humbling and we want to extend our warm thanks to everyone who has helped us out. Thanks to you, our journey through our first week of crowdfunding has been exciting and eventful to say the least.
Help us reach $80 000 and we’ll give everyone Ambronite Recipe Booklets
As it stands, our Indiegogo campaign is at around $55 000. However, this is just the beginning: Our next goal is to reach $80 000 and if we do, everyone will get a special Ambronite Recipe Booklet shipped with their order free of charge. It will be crammed full of delicious recipes, ingredient insights and some favourite tips and ideas from our fans.
ArsTechnica was eager to try out Ambronite. We were happy to send Lee Hutchinson three one-meal bags of Ambronite to make a review. Lee wrote an extensive article about Ambronite, and especially liked how much satiety Ambronite brings:
“An entire package provided a whole hell of a lot of satiety -- I drank an Ambronite packet for lunch and didn’t find myself feeling any hunger at all until dinnertime approached.”
Read & Tweet Lee’s great piece over here: