Where Are They Now? Follow Up with Asarasi, Inc.
Innovation Destination Hartford spoke with Asarasi, Inc. CEO Adam Lazar in November 2015, when the startup was honored with a reSET Impact Award. Since then, Asarasi has continued to participate in New England startup accelerators and earn top prizes at pitch events.
IDH Website Curator Nan Price checked in with startup for an update.
NAN PRICE: What’s new? Have you experienced any major pivots since we featured your story?
ADAM LAZAR: Absolutely. Since we last spoke, Asarasi has received an organic certification from the USDA! Asarasi has introduced the world’s first USDA-certified organic water by developing a renewable and sustainable plant-based source of fresh water that is harmlessly harvested from trees.
In addition, we just launched three new organic flavors to add to our line up: Lime, Lemon, and Cherry Lime. Asarasi introduced these flavors at Expo West, one of the largest natural foods trade shows, and the reception has been incredible. We expect to have flavors in broad distribution in the coming months.
NAN: Have you been involved with any startup resources in the region?
ADAM: ADAM has utilized many of Connecticut’s startup resources, as well as regional resources, which has helped us move the company forward.
- Connecticut Innovations invested in Arasi in 2015.
- Won a Bronze award at the 2015 reSET Impact Awards.
- Participated in the reSET Impact Accelerator and won top prize in the reSET Impact Challenge May 2016.
- Participated in the MassChallenge accelerator in 2016 (selected from 2,300 applications).
- Won the CTNext Entrepreneur Innovation Awards top prize in 2016.
- Awarded a services prize in the Boston AdClub Brandathon in 2016.
- Won the CTNext Entrepreneur Innovation Awards top prize in 2016, including the People’s Choice award.
- Won the Institute of Advanced Advertising Studies (IAAS) competition held by the American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA) for six months of in-kind marketing services in 2017.
- Awarded third place prize in the 43North startup competition in 2017 (selected from more than 540 applications worldwide).
- Edison Awards winner in 2018.
- Town Vibe Green Award winner in 2018.
- SOSV Food-X winner in 2018.
NAN: Where do you see Connecticut’s entrepreneurial landscape heading?
ADAM: We see that Connecticut’s entrepreneurial landscape will continue to grow as the resources to support new companies or ideas grows. Options such as CTNext, reSET, and Connecticut Innovations provide increased resources for startups with accelerators, incubators, mentors, workshops, operational support, and funding. This helps companies overcome some of the many obstacles that arise as they look to grow.
NAN: Tell us about the importance of supporting entrepreneurship in Connecticut.
ADAM: There are a lot of terrific companies that need help in Connecticut. By providing necessary support and incentives, they would be more inclined to stay and grow in the state rather than look for resources in other geographies.
NAN: Aside from funding, what do you need most to move your company forward?
ADAM: One thing would be company infrastructure. Over the last two years, we have been operating very lean but as we continue to grow, we will need to increase our internal resources. Another would be distribution. As we grow, we need the means to build a network of distributors that can optimize our route to market.
NAN: What’s next?
ADAM: We’ve had tremendous success over the last year building a solid distribution base. And, since becoming the only USDA organic water and introducing new flavors, interest has been growing exponentially.
Over the last year, we have secured agreements with distributors including UNFI, KeHE, Sysco, Try-it, Baldor Foods, and Cavallaro Foods. Our retail locations continue to increase with authorizations in Safeway, ShopRite, TJMaxx, Vitamin Shoppe, Lucky Vitamin, Shaw’s, Tops, and numerous specialty locations. We’ve also had success in foodservice locations through sustainability initiatives and can be found in Morgan Stanley, Corning, The Ritz Carleton, and Tender Greens to name a few.
Asarasi has opened more than 750 locations in 2017 and expect to be in more than 2,500 locations by the end of 2018. With the right resources, we have a line of site to increase our points of distribution to 7,500 locations over the next 24 months.