We are always intrigued by successful people. We often wonder if there is a secret that we can somehow uncover and emulate. Or we retreat into thinking that they possess a special kind of talent which we don’t. But more often than not, it is not the secret or the special talent that makes them successful; rather the character they develop and their understanding of their ‘why’ that drive them towards success. This is a repeated theme that we find in some of the most successful and inspiring entrepreneurs of the world.
When asked about how he keeps himself motivated, Udi Klier says, “Motivation is the easy part; it’s part of who I am.” Klier is the Co-Founder and CEO of Nicevend, a Food-Tech company that has developed a unique technology for the automatic and on-demand preparation of frozen textured beverages. The technology is gaining a lot of traction in the frozen beverage market for its innovation and the market opportunities it offers to retailers, vending machine operators and beverage brands.
“Right from the start, I took upon myself a task that I totally believe in. I am motivated to fulfill this mission and I’m always inspired by my family’s history and current endeavors,” shares Klier. “Furthermore, we get so much positive feedback about the vision, technology, and quality of our final products, and that also feeds our inspiration and motivation.”
Born into a family of industrialists, Klier was exposed to the world of entrepreneurship since childhood. His family is active in various technology markets, with a successful record of developing innovative ideas into thriving technology companies, some of which became public in Israel and the U.S. “The overall family entrepreneurial DNA encouraged me to open my first business in high school,” reveals Klier.
When he was just in high school, he opened his first business selling imported lifestyle and fashion products. Later, when he entered university, he set up Normat Coffee Solutions. Formed in collaboration with Israel’s largest catering company, Normat Coffee was one of the world’s first companies to offer professional office coffee services, in-house espresso bars and vending machines services to hi-tech complexes. This company was successfully sold to a subsidiary of Danone in 2006. Today he is running an innovative company that is set to disrupt the frozen texture beverage world.
His strong work ethic which he developed through his parents and his deep desire to carry on the family’s legacy as industrialists have played a key role in his success. “I have always felt that as a member of one of Israel’s leading industrial and entrepreneurial families, it was only natural to maintain our family spirit of leading visionary innovation which will have a positive effect on the world. I have always been proud and privileged to continue with our family tradition,” says Klier.
His grandfather was one of Israel’s prominent industrialists who immigrated to Israel from Europe in the 1930s and established Argaman Industries, which became one of Europe’s largest chemical textiles companies. Later his father took over the management of the family business as the CEO in the 1970s and expanded its activities into hi-tech, including several technological subsidiaries in various fields such as solar energy, distance learning and computerized control over the textile manufacturing processes. Today, Klier is continuing that legacy through Nicevend and other ventures in hi-tech.
Klier’s experience with Normat Coffee Solutions gave him a good understanding of the dynamics of the markets that eventually led to starting Nicevend. “Being well placed within the Food and Beverages market’s needs and pain-points led me to better evaluate areas that required innovative solutions, and with the ability to respond to daily operational and market circumstances, this was the obvious direction for me,” shares Klier.
Today customers are looking for more personalized and healthy beverage offerings. Service providers in convenience stores, entertainment, restaurants, catering and other players in hospitality can fulfill this demand and desire from their customers through Nicevend’s technology.
Nicevend and the Market Opportunities for Brands
“The vision of Nicevend is to totally disrupt the frozen texture beverage world” shares Klier. As one of the fastest-growing segments in the beverage market, with more than 8 million servings sold in the U.S every day translating to more than $5b in sales of ingredients, there is a huge opportunity in this market segment. However, the market is based on a 40-year-old auger technology that lacks the ability to offer what the food and beverage brands want to sell and what the customers want to consume.
Nicevend’s proprietary technology and machines enable the automatic preparation of a super-wide variety of frozen textured blends from a single machine by pushing a button. It has the ability to offer sugarless drinks as well as drinks with additives such as vitamins, proteins, caffeine, fruits, different milk types, tea, alcohol, and practically any type of ingredient.
This technology has replaced the need for a blender and an auger machine while offering easy and hassle-free preparation and a wide variety of healthy drinks. This opens opportunities for new beverages as well other food and beverage concepts (e.g. drinkable ice cream and functional frozen drinks) to join the frozen beverages segments. Beverage brands can now begin offering more personalized, healthy and higher quality frozen beverages for today’s customers.
The company is currently working on smaller-sized machines to suit C-Stores and the food-service industry. “We will then develop machines suited to the office workspace and eventually this may be followed by a smaller household size for the automatic preparation of frozen beverages at home,” says Klier.
Reflecting on his career, Klier shares one of the most important lessons he has learned: “I learned that you should believe in your vision and dare to win. Not everyone has the same understanding, belief and determination to work hard and succeed. However, if you believe in yourself, and keep your eye on the vision, you will find that other partners and believers will join and your vision will eventually become everyone’s reality.”