Location: West New York, NJ
Founder and CEO
DRINKING FROM A FIRE HOSE
Since its founding, Dyla LLC has more than doubled in size each year. Now, the company’s beverage brands are sold in more than 20,000 retail stores nationwide. “Identifying a market opportunity based on my experience in the food/beverage industry and offering healthier products was a driver of growth,” says founder and CEO Neel Premkumar. “But I also think our talent is a major differentiator. I started the business by myself, and ran it as the only employee for more than two years. This enabled me to do every job and understand the challenges and drivers of success for each role.” As a result, Premkumar was able to zero in on the right talent once it was time to hire.
Quick Tip: “For others to follow you, you have to set a clear vision for the future that inspires others to join the cause, and then you have to have strong listening and empathy skills.”
One of the biggest challenges for Dyla has been financing its rapid growth. “Growing this company has really been akin to drinking from a fire hose,” says Premkumar. “In the beginning, I financed growth myself from savings. Then, early on, I brought on my former CEO from Nestle. After a couple of years, we brought on other equity investors, like the former president of our biggest competitor.” For the future, Premkumar says, “part of my personal challenge is avoiding complacency; we have to keep rapidly expanding in our industry in order to compete effectively with bigger consumer food/beverage companies that have incredible scale.”