Ex-David Jones Boss Paul Zahra Joins Supermarket Soft Drink War

Ex-David Jones Boss Paul Zahra Joins Supermarket Soft Drink War
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An emerging player in the supermarket soft drink wars has announced it has secured the services of former David Jones boss Paul Zahra as an adviser and investor.

Nexba said the appointment of Zahra comes at a pivotal time for the business, as it embarks on its first capital raising ahead of its impending international expansion.

Zahra, who has had a 35-year career in retail and is currently the global retail adviser to PwC, said he was drawn to Nexba because of its international market potential and its focus on important health and social issues.

“Nexba is a company with an incredible future. It’s a game-changer for the soft drink market, here in Australia and globally. Nexba is changing the market landscape of an entire industry segment,” he said.

“Nexba has made a conscious decision to make beverages that taste great and are naturally sugar free. As a result, the social impact it is having in reducing the sugar intake in people’s diets is enormous – especially as people look to healthier options and governments look at ways to fight obesity. It’s a huge point of difference to the big brand names out there.

“What excites me most about Nexba, however, is its ambitious growth plans and boldness in taking on the traditional global players. I intend to play a key role in guiding the company in that journey.”

Nexba was founded in 2011 by Sydney-based entrepreneurs Troy Douglas and Drew Bilbe. From humble beginnings, the brand has developed beyond its initial range of flavoured iced teas to a multi-faceted company with a growing national footprint.

In August 2016, Nexba launched what it claimed to be Australia’s first naturally sugar-free soft drinks with no artificial ingredients, flavours or sweeteners, which saw the company’s sales more than triple in 2016-17.

Nexba co-founder and CEO Troy Douglas said consumer demands are shifting, with Aussies now wanting healthier options.

“We are proud to be the first-to-market leader in what is the fastest emerging product category,” he said.

“We hope our continued growth will inspire big brands to be naturally sugar-free.”

Nexba is currently undertaking a $1 million capital-raising via Venture Crowd, which is being led by tech VC expert Steve Maarbani, who is also a corporate lawyer and former PwC partner.

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