“I had a vision to create a company that would serve as a role model and inspire my community.”
Derrick’s collagen infused coconut water, Vouke, was gaining traction worldwide. He had already made a name for himself in Colombia, caught the attention of the grammy award winning pop star Lady Gaga, and expanded his production to Miami to meet the growing demand for his product. However, the costs for running a business are expensive, and when Derrick had the opportunity to participate in a pitch competition in Texas, he did not have the working capital available to cover the plane and hotel costs.
Derrick reached out to Ascendus and received a $5,000 Southern Opportunity and Resilience Fund loan, and not only did he make it to the pitch competition, but he also won. “That prize is what kept me going and helped me grow my business.” Derrick won $15,000 from the pitch competition, but more importantly he won the opportunity to have his product across all 340 H-E-B grocery stores internationally for five years. “They put me in the top spot in the grocery store, helped me switch from plastic to aluminum cans to be more environmentally friendly, and helped me develop my brand strategy.” Through winning the competition, Vouke’s sales and brand recognition skyrocketed.
WHY VOUKE MATTERS
“I wanted to see the world have better access to ingredients. Coconut water is a healthier and greener way to deliver clean energy. I add collagen and nutrients to my product to make it better. There is no sugar, and no side effects such as jitters, crashing, and stomach aches that come from caffeine.”
Growing up in the tiny Caribbean Island of San Andres, right off the coast of Colombia, Derrick saw innovation in something everyone around him seemed to look past – the abundance of coconut trees. He created the first production plant on the island for coconut water. “I had a vision to create a company that would serve as a role model and inspire my community. Through Vouke, I could educate people about healthy ingredients, provide jobs, and help my community at the same time.” Derrick also focuses on environmental sustainability through Vouke by using the pulp from the coconuts to make handmade soaps and the husks as fertilizer.
THE FUTURE OF VOUKE
When pop star lady Gaga complained about not having any coconut water at her concert in Colombia, Derrick shipped her his product immediately, putting his product on the map. Derrick has gone on to win Shark Tank in Miami, and in addition to being in all H-E-B grocery stores he has his products across health food stores and gyms such as Equinox and Orange Theory.
Today, Derrick is working on expanding Vouke throughout the east coast, providing more job opportunities through assembling a digital marketing and sales team, and continuing to educate people on the health benefits of nutritious and sustainable ingredients.
To learn more about Derrick, visit: drinkvouke.com