The food start-up Renjer Snacks just signed a contract with a private investor from Germany. The company received all the necessary funds to scale up the production of their wild jerky snacks from reindeer, elk and deer in return for 5% of their company shares. With these funds they can cope with the demand occurring from two new partnerships signed with distributors in Finland and Norway, the CFO Tim Schulz says.
The team of Renjer Alex Kirchmaier, Tim Schulz and Anton Vänskä, three former students of Lund University, have worked on this project for almost two years. After their first product, reindeer jerky in a box, which almost turned out to be a shelf warmer, the team did everything but give up. From the beginning, they had built their start-up on a lean cost structure that could sustain these tough times. Even though their first product sold slowly, they knew that customers liked their product, so they listened thoroughly to all the issues they experienced and improved the product precisely according to the feedback they got. As a result they launched three improved products. The plan worked out and the demand skyrocketed. Since January Renjer sold more than 30.000 units of their snack delicacies and the turnover peaked at 250.000 SEK this month.
The CEO Alex Kirchmaier is sure that their whole journey has been important for their success.
“We were convinced to be on the right track. Our first product was developed with the help of over 100 external product testers and we worked hard to fulfil the image of a premium snack, both taste and design wise. However, caught in our entrepreneurial dream we developed a product which had a packaging neither convenient nor feasible due to the high production cost. We learned from that and embrace the failure as part of the process. We have done our homework and this investment will help us now to get our business on another level.”, Alex says.
Renjer’s products are available at www.renjer.ky/shop as well as in over hundred partner stores in the Nordic countries.
Next week, VentureLab will be taking over our Instagram account. So we took the opportunity to talk to Patricia Szolnoki, Communications Manager at VentureLab.
Hi Patricia, can you tell me a bit about VentureLab?
– VentureLab is part of Lund University and we empower students to create the future! Our office is at Ideon Agora where we have between 30-50 companies in our incubator each year. VentureLab is a free service any student at Lund University can use in the form of business advice meetings, workshops and networking events and can even apply to access our incubator. The latter is practically work-space for those entrepreneurial ideas that have a high potential and need more concentrated help, business coaching and the benefit of being in the Ideon-network every day. We have intake to our incubator 4 times a year and companies can stay up to one year.
Who are working at VentureLab? What are your backgrounds?
– We are currently three working full-time at VentureLab in Lund, one at Campus Helsingborg, three junior business advisors from LU Innovation, and we even have an affiliate in Alnarp at SLU. The three of us sitting at Ideon all have backgrounds at studying at Lund University, social sciences, communication and developmental studies with the occasional adventurous courses in geography, religion, linguistics and everything in between. Some of us have been part of startups and some are fascinated by them. Our common interest is to see a new generation of students succeed with their aspirations in creating their own opportunities and bring their amazing ideas to the public. We have all seen what encouragement for highly educated and ambitious students can do: John Henric, Tamam, Lunicore, Animus Home, IV-bracelet, Tendo and Vevios are just a few examples. We are working to support these ideas become reality and help these entrepreneurs start on their journey.
How many companies are with you right now?
– Currently, we have 26 companies sitting in the incubator. They exemplify the great diversity that Lund University stands for with entrepreneurial minds from all backgrounds and study disciplines. Some are starting online services, some are creating the next generation of smart living solutions, some are interested in the consumer market. What all have in common is a great drive and love of coffee!
What will you be showing us next week?
We’ll show you more of what it’s like here at the incubator, but we’ll also show you what’s happening at Lund Innovation Challenge, a three day innovation challenge where students from LTH and EHL will work together in teams to develop data-driven business ideas and prototypes aided by data from Bisnode. Join us!