This is the seventh  installment of an interview series with the 2021 Target Takeoff Food & Beverage cohort. Participating founders are sharing, in their own words, details about their innovative companies. All interviews have been conducted by the Target Takeoff Program Management Team.

Meet Sanzo.

CEO & Founder, Alessandro Roco

TT: Describe Sanzo in one sentence.

Sandro: Sanzo’s mission is to bridge cultures by connecting people with authentic flavors. Our flagship product is the 1st Asian-inspired sparkling water, made with real fruit and no added sugar.

TT: What inspired you to start your company? What makes your product unique in the marketplace?

Sandro: We’re inspired by a multitude of watershed cultural moments: the success of several blockbuster films directed by or starring Asians and Asian-American Pacific Islanders (AAPIs), the rise of Korean pop music, and the ubiquitous influence of Asian popular culture on a global scale.

Our goal was to create a beverage that represented this bridging of cultures, East and West.

What we ultimately believe makes us different is the community we come from. Aside from Asian culture becoming a more ubiquitous contributor to mainstream American culture, Asian Americans as a community represent the fastest growing and wealthiest ethnic group in the United States.

But we believe grocery shelves don’t yet reflect this generational trend.

TT: What’s a problem you frequently face as a founder?

Sandro: We’re fortunate right now to have a product and brand that is really resonating in the marketplace this early on in our company lifecycle. We’re doing so with a super talented, motivated, and lean team and we’re having a blast doing it.

Among the many things that keep me up at night is ensuring we’re continuing to attract the right prospective team members, capital, retail and distribution partners to set our company up for long-term, sustainable growth.

In my view, Sanzo has the potential to be a global brand, and I believe that ultimately my job as its founder & CEO is to ensure that all associated with Sanzo share that vision.

TT: How do you stay motived through the ups and downs of growing your business? 

Sandro: I feel very fortunate to have a life partner, family and friends who support me and what I’m trying to build. They also remind me of the truly important things in life that aren’t just business-related.

And that combination really helps me not ride too much of the roller coaster that can oftentimes be associated with founding a company.

But ultimately, I stay motivated by our mission; it’s not just personal, but emotional, familial and ultimately cultural. I believe all 3 of our Sanzo beverages are truly delicious in their own rights, but having that deeper meaning for me has made all the difference.

TT: After this program, how do you see your company growing?

Sandro: Our mission of bridging cultures to me means ultimately bridging continents. But we know we won’t get there immediately, and it’s naive for me to think we’ll get there in even just one year.

But the biggest lesson I’ve learned in this business so far is that success takes an ambitious north star of a brand coupled with daily execution of the nitty gritty.

So where will we be in a year? Things have happened so quickly for us that it’s hard to project specifics. But as long as our team is focused on the daily execution of our admittedly lofty goals, I think we’ll be really satisfied with the progress.

 

To get your hands on Sanzo and learn more about their mission, visit drinksanzo.com.