CRUSH IT LIKE: Colin Pyle from Cru Kafe
Friday 18th November
CRUSH IT LIKE puts Food Tech heroes in the spotlight. We want to understand their cause and what drives them. Running a startup is extremely demanding but these folks are totally crushing it, like the bosses they are! We hope you'll be as inspired into action by these incredible individuals as we are.
CRU Kafe make amazing, ethically-sourced, organic coffee in the heart of West London. They make coffee for busy people who are every bit as passionate about really good coffee as they are. COLIN PYLE tells us how he strikes a balance between leading his company through hyper-growth and personal down-time. Hint: Meditation is involved.
We started our coffee adventure because we loved great coffee but didn’t always have the time or luxury to find a great 3rd wave coffee shop conveniently located. Our co-founder Bodil had a Nespresso machine and loved the convenience and consistent product that it delivered but thought improvements could be made with not only their coffee but also their ethics. It is a 5bn dollar industry and the patent had just expired. An alternative was needed that was an upgrade of both taste and ethics.
Our biggest challenge is two-fold. Firstly, taste is everything to us. Creating an amazing tasting Nespresso-compatible capsule took a long time to get right. We’re still constantly working on raising the bar. The amount of complexity that enters into the equation when dealing with food is enormous. From issues around freshness to the trust required to convince customers to put things in their body.
Secondly, fundraising a high growth startup while also running the business is extremely exhausting. We’ve just completed a big fundraising led by Seedcamp. We’ve brought on amazing new shareholders and team members to tackle our future growth. We’ve launched new products and now provide whole bean and ground coffee along with Nespresso compatible capsules – this is just getting started and we’re having a lot of early success.
I believe that self-awareness and mindfulness are the most important characteristics to predict success
We are keen on creating an amazing space around coffee and are actively looking for the right space that meets all our big ideas and plans. We’re creating a global lifestyle brand. A lot of people in London don’t think we can do it. This gets me out of bed everyday!
I’m up around 6am with my 1 year old boy, whom I then spend about an hour with eating breakfast. It’s the best way to kick off the day, seeing him smile and giggle. I then either hit the gym for a quick workout before reaching the office for about 8am. Once a week we have a mindfulness and meditation coach in the office for our team. I believe that self-awareness and mindfulness are the most important characteristics to predict success. Exercise and meditation is a fantastic way to clear the mind for the tasks that lay ahead.
I leave the office around 5pm and head home to hang out with my little boy for about 2 hours before putting him off to sleep. I then eat dinner with my wife. Around 8:30pm I’ll dig into my “today list” and tackle anything that I didn’t get done or do anything that is urgent that happened between 5pm and 8:30pm. The non-urgent stuff gets put on my list for tomorrow and I love a good TV series before heading to bed for around 10pm. I also meditate in the evening to clear my head before hitting the pillow.
His entrepreneurial heroes
I’m a big fan of Tim Ferriss, Tony Robbins and Joe Rogan. They also have great podcasts that accompany my weekly 100km cycle. I think it’s difficult to admire entrepreneurs sometimes because the media portrays such a skewed view of them and their success stories – I love what Elon Musk is doing, but is he a dick? I have no idea.
Some guys and girls in London that I know personally or know the inside scoop on and that are smashing it are Jamie Oliver,Taavet Hinrikus, Nick Jones, and Lance Uggla. I love brands and truly admire when someone has done a fantastic job curating an incredible brand experience. I’m a big fan of Toms, Rafa and love what Dollar Shave Club was able to do in such a short period of time.
Tools that help him get his s*** together
Email structure and organisation is the key to the game, along with having an amazing team around you that can be trusted to tackle just about anything. I love “today lists”. At the end of each day I write down what I need to get done the next day and prioritise that list. It’s easy as a founder to get caught up in all the noise in the office and before you realise, it’s the end of the day and all that you’ve done is run around putting out fires.
Getting my attention knocked around between various parts of the business can be difficult. If I’m very organised with exactly what I need to do then coming back to the task list means that the damage of distraction is limited. I love a good calendar app – Fantastical 2 – I also love two screens on my desk – I couldn’t live without my iPhone 6S Plus either or tiny Macbook 12 inch.
I think the best company culture is one that just happens. It is the culture that’s led by the founders at the start and then re-enforced by management as you grow. We believe in hard work, teamwork, respect and reliability. All done while enjoying the journey.
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