Interview with Pure Lyft CEO Erik Elfstrum

Erik Elfstrum (centre) with athletes Marshall Faulk (left) and Rudy Gay (right)
Erik Elfstrum (centre) with athletes Marshall Faulk (left) and Rudy Gay (right)

A few years ago, my partner and I—exhausted from a long week at work—were looking for, and couldn’t find, an all-natural energy alternative to coffee and the artificially flavoured, sugar-filled energy drinks on the market. We took the opportunity to create a new, innovative energy stir stick that allows you to energize any beverage you want—naturally!

We created the formula for our all-natural CLEAN CAFFEINE® from unroasted green coffee beans, a hint (less than 1mg) of Stevia, and vitamins A and B complex. The unique, portable energy stir stick can be stirred into your drink of choice, including, but certainly not limited to water, juice, soda, and adult beverages.

1) What is Pure Lyft?

PureLYFT is the first and only “All Natural” Energy Stir Stick. This unique delivery allows you to stir in caffeine from green coffee bean, vitamins A & B complex topped off with all-natural flavours into any beverage or food. We have a mission to clean up caffeine, allowing consumers to “Energize Anything” in a healthier way. We hope to be a portable solution to stay alert while allowing consumers to drink what they want to drink. (Customization)

2) How did you come up with the idea of Pure Lyft?

We came up with the idea sitting in a lounge in NYC after a long day at work and I didn’t want a cup of coffee or espresso and I did not like any of the other synthetic and strong tasting options. (Redbull) My partner and I thought there has to be a better way to get healthier ingredients into any beverage while looking more sophisticated/ cool. This is why we came up with the now patented stir stick to fill this huge white space!

3) How did you start Pure Lyft?

There was an unmet need for sure. Our team was convinced we needed to have a unique delivery to get this “premium” blend of all-natural caffeine and vitamins into “Any Beverage”. We thought it would be perfect for bars and restaurants for that happy hour solution to the tired consumers looking to stay out a little longer. This is a great location for pureLYFT but educating the new consumer in this busy location created issues. Our next test was in Hotels where the meeting attendees now had a solution for the boring water station. We showed great results in this space but it was very difficult to get to become a brand standard and going from hotel to hotel was very time-consuming.

We then found our perfect launching point in retail. We started with the college consumer who is always looking for new caffeine alternatives. We have tested extremely well in this space and now are in over 1000 colleges and expanding by the month. We started in book stores (Barnes and Noble College Book stores) and now are in “food service” on campus in convenience stores and other common areas on campus. (Food Service Partnerships)

Now we are close securing our national partnership with some of the largest grocery stores in the country. We are in a test with Shoprite in New Jersey and hope to be two of the top three largest grocery chains by the end of the quarter. Our projections have us well over the million-dollar mark in revenue in the second half of 2017.

Erik Elfstrum, the CEO
Erik Elfstrum, the CEO

4) What makes your company different from your competitors?
We have a very disruptive brand it several different ways. Most products both beverages and supplements have a strong taste. Our value proposition is built more on the functional benefits while having a slight/ mild taste. “Energize Anything” allows our consumer to take this convenient and stylistic delivery on the go and “CUSTOMIZE” their favourite beverage or food. People today what to drink and eat what they like so we allow for this option, just now you can Energize your favorite and get a clean boost.

We were very selective in our ingredients, as we also wanted to differentiate our brand by the “Healthier for You” all-natural powder blend. Most other brands liquids or powder use the synthetic caffeine, unlike our All-Natural Green Coffee bean caffeine. We chose not to include those nasty synthetic flavours or other boosting ingredients. This is why we trademarked clean caffeine.

5) What is the future of Pure Lyft?

We hope to be in the majority of college convenience stores here in the US by the end of of 2017. (Currently in 1000+ campuses) We also hope to be one of the Largest retailers in the world by October. Lastly, we hope to be 3 of the top 5 top grocery chains by the close of 2017. We will grow the brand awareness through influencers in both media and social channels. Bottom line we hope pureLYFT will be the go-to option for energy on the go allowing consumers to live a little healthier while staying alert and focused.

6) What obstacles did you have to come over to get your company to where it is today?

There are so many obstacles that we have had to overcome and that we still tackle every day.

Production: This is a constant action item for our team to drive down cost and drive up capacity and efficiencies. We now have two amazing facilities here in the US where our compliance standards far exceed the government guidelines.

Product Placement: The classic chicken or the egg 🙂 Once we got into Barnes and Noble and now several other household named retailers it made it a lot easier to garner placement.

Product Awareness: We know once people have the chance to try pureLYFT they will love it and repurchase the product. We constantly look for new and creative ways to get millions of eyes on our product. We have gotten into some big publications while partnering with some terrific influencers getting millions of eyes on the brand. (Influencer/ Celebrity Campaign)

7) What are the health benefits of the Pure Lyft energy stick?

Clean Energy 🙂 Caffeine from Green coffee beans has been linked to several health benefits besides energy, but now that we can claim on our packaging. The amount of all-natural caffeine is equivalent to a tall cup of coffee. We also added Vitamins A and B Complex, that carry with it benefits in energy delivery and immunity. Most importantly we did not put in artificial ingredients, even our new Flavors are all Natural.

8) What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?

Believe Believe, & Believe! Your passion is key in getting your idea or product off the ground. There will be several hurdles that you and the team will need to jump over, including people saying your idea won’t work but “Passion” and “Attitude” wins at the end of the day. We had to run through obstacles to get to where we are and it would have been easier to quit for sure. Coming from a huge corporate environment (Pfizer) I learned some amazing business principals but never felt that my true potential could be reached in that conservative environment. When you are an entrepreneur your potential is endless and it sits on your shoulders. I wake up every morning LOVING what I am doing and believing that we are going to make a difference in the world. For that reason, we will be successful and I hope I can help other entrepreneurs do the same.

We would like to thank Erik for speaking with us.

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