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Chad Yesilova, 2011 Anthill 30under30 Up-and-Comer

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What is 30under30?

30under30 is an Anthill initiative launched in 2008 to encourage and promote entrepreneurship among young Australians. This year’s batch of nominees was extensive and impressive. So much so that we believe several young talents who didn’t snag 30under30 top honours still deserve your attention and recognition. We call them our Up-and-Comers. More.

Chad Yesilova, VIC (b. 1983)

Name: Chad Yesilova
Age: 28 (Born: June 1983)
Gender: Male
State: VIC

Chad Yesilova’s story is probably one of the best hard-right-turn tales you’ll hear among the young people profiled in our 30under30 contest.

Today, Yesilova is the co-founder of Innovative Beverage Co., which makes Esc, “Australia’s first anti-energy drink.” That’s right — a beverage that’s the anti-matter of Red Bull, RockStar and other get-you-hopping liquids. Esc is all about hangin’ loose, kickin’ back and unwinding.

What’s astonishing is that Yesilova had no experience in beverage development, distribution or marketing before starting innovative beverage. A few years earlier, he was a stockbroker who found himself financially waylaid by the global economic nosedive (“I lost my own money, my parents’, my best friends’, their parents’. I lost my job and my girl!”).

He tried going back to school but realised it was “not for me.” Yesilova come across an article about anti-energy drinks gaining traction in the Unites States. He moved from Sydney to Melbourne, partnered up with a friend and started to assemble the startup that would become Innovative Beverage, which launched last year with the help of angel investors.

In a podcast interview with Anthill earlier this year, Yesilova talked about his entrepreneurial journey, including the grueling process of getting Esc’s ingredients approved by the Australian government. (Today, Esc’s website lists four main ingredients that all aspire to certain relaxing qualities — valerian root, chamomile, passion flower and tryptophan.)

Today, thanks to savvy development and marketing and the securing of several useful partners, Esc is available in about 1,500 stores — impressive for a product that officially rolled out only last spring. Esc is pushed hard on Facebook and other social media, and the overall marketing language is sharp and cheeky.

“Any product could be boring at first, but the way you describe it can create intrigue and curiosity,” Yesilova says. “Make it remarkable enough for word to spread organically and rapidly.”

Anthill asks: Chad Yesilova, what’s your superpower?

“Socialising! I manage to get myself into places and situations where I meet extraordinary people who go on to create amazing things. I thrive off situations which many would be embarrassed of or too scared to pursue. I don’t go in pursuit of anything when I meet these people or go to events, but I come out with amazing knowledge, contacts and an overall fun experience!”

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To check out the full list of Anthill’s 30under30 winners, click here.

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