PERKii’s gut instinct: Delivering REAL priobiotic goodness to your gut

Stoic VC

PERKii is an Australian leader when it comes to health and wellbeing. Stemming from a University of Queensland discovery, PERKii utilises micro-shield technology for improved probiotic efficacy. Unlike many probiotic formulas, PERKii’s targeted release probiotics are protected and nourished to survive the journey through the stomach and into the gut. A constant innovator, CEO Anthony Davie talks science and their pathway to new products and markets.
1.   What inspired you to develop your idea?
PERKii was founded on the idea that stomach acid can be harmful to living probiotics. In fact, certain studies have shown a mortality rate of up to 99% in the first 30 minutes of exposure to low pH. Leaving few, if any, to reach your gut alive and have an influence on your health.
PERKii’s patented micro-shield technology provides nourishment for the probiotic and protects it against stomach acid so the surviving probiotic is up to 10,000x stronger than regular, non micro-shield probiotics.
For a targeted release in your gut, and a difference you can feel.

2.   How have your priorities changed from when you first started?
When we first started the priority was simply “can we deliver our micro-shield technology in a ready-to-consume format”.
What we know is that in the probiotics space, 60% of consumers take their probiotics in ways other than supplements. After extensive trial and testing, we were able to settle on a formula that had both consumer appeal and provided a stable environment for our probiotics.
Now, with the launch of our second product range, our mission is to deliver the PERKii technology into even more categories of probiotic consumption.
3.   Knowing what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently when you were first starting out?
Putting the customer first. The key to our strategy now is the customer. We’ve set about truly understanding who our product serves (the probiotic consumer), what their desires are and how we can genuinely better their lives through our technology.
4.   What challenges did you have to overcome at the beginning of your journey?
The biggest challenge that we faced in the beginning was communicating the key point of difference our technology provided.
There was a lot of information out there on the benefits of probiotics, however, most consumers weren’t aware of the impact stomach had on living strains.
We have worked hard to deliver this message to the probiotic consumer through all areas of marketing and studies now show that 50% of all probiotic consumers are aware of this issue.

5.   What entrepreneurial tricks have you discovered to keep you focused?
Being nimble and flexible are two of the best ‘tricks’ we have learned. We have found that it has been important to be open to trying different solutions to the many challenges that come a start-ups way.
While not everything is trial and error, we have found that things don’t always go to plan so being open to learning, changing and adapting have been critical. This requires us to have a non-defensive mindset as a team so it’s easy to move forward.
6.   What advice would you give to someone who is trying to become an entrepreneur?
Focus ruthlessly on what makes your product or service unique to your customer. Be clear on your value proposition and why that point of difference is relevant and valuable.
7.   How did you establish your culture?

Our culture has evolved based on the combination of a belief in the benefits that our technology and products can deliver for consumers and the fun, energy and personal growth in working in a startup environment.
8.   How do you define success?
Success at PERKii is about proving the commercial applicability and success of the encapsulation technology to be able to deliver more effective probiotic benefits.
We are focussed on proving that initially in the Australian market across a range of products being sold both in supermarkets, convenience stores, retail and food service outlets and online and then leveraging those learnings onto a global stage. 
9.   What are you working on now?
The goal for us currently is to expand our product offering to further align with the demands of the probiotic consumer.
There are a whole range of probiotics being developed and tested that show positive impacts in multiple areas of human health.
With our technology, we intend to elevate these strains and offer them in a way that is appetising to the probiotic consumer.
10. How do you see your company evolving over the next 10 years?
PERKii’s micro-shield technology provides a key point of difference when compared to similar products, in all areas of probiotic consumption.
We’re currently operating in the incidental space, however research has shown great appeal of our technology amongst the hardcore probotic consumers as well. In the next 10 years, our aim is to become the probiotic brand of choice, in whatever form consumers prefer to get their probiotic intake.