The Ardent Company founders, Daniel Rowntree, Dan Gasper and Andreas Redlefsen

Dan Gasper: ardent incubator advocate

04 January, 2023

Over the past 15 years, Gasper has coached around 100 founder-led brands and between them the three founders have nearly 50 years of drinks start-up experience.

“Around 98% of founders don’t come from the drinks industry, so our expertise is invaluable and the coaching element is important to us. We look for founders who we think can become leaders in the future and in-turn become chief executives, whereas other investors often look to get rid of the founders in the long term.

“For us, the most important thing is for them to stay in control and retain their independence. It makes it tougher for them, but it means they’re masters of their own destiny because they can decide when it’s time to exit their brand or keep it.

“Getting something into a bottle is often the easy bit. What we do is help with the harder parts, like building the brand and building a team to set it up for future growth. Generally speaking, we don’t look at products which are generating less than a quarter of a million dollars because if they can’t do that without any support, then they’re unlikely to be worth the investment.”

And if the concept of a drinks incubator or accelerator still doesn’t compute, Gasper likens its role to the world of motorsport.

“Our analogy is that the founder is the race car driver, the bottle is the race car and we’re the pit crew. We’re slightly in the background and we don’t get any of the attention after the race is won.”

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