Old school values make 'PerfectTed' matcha of the day

It is a perfect story for readers of this website, combining sustainability, independence of mind, entrepreneurial spirit, a former UCS Captain of Monitors… oh and, antioxidant-rich Japanese matcha green tea.

The story also comes infused with the values of this school, since its protagonists, brothers and Old Gowers Teddie and Levi Levenfiche, are providing best-practice examples of ‘resourcefulness’, ‘responsibility’, ‘relationships’ and ‘resilience’ as they chase their dream of breaking into the world energy drinks market.

Today Teddie appeared on BBC’s Dragons’ Den show together with the pair’s business partner Marisa Poster to seek investment in ‘PerfectTed’ – Europe’s first matcha green tea-powered canned energy drink and a product named after our former Captain of Monitors (or head boy).

The pitch gained universal approval, vindicating the vision of the ambitious trio, who all studied at Ivy League school UPenn (University of Pennsylvania). It was post graduation, when working long hours in finance in the US, that they discovered the benefits of matcha as a healthy caffeine fix.

Subsequently, in pursuit of the highest quality organic and ceremonial grade matcha from sustainable Japanese farmers, they found themselves leveraging certain broader aspects of their UCS education, as Teddie explains: “To think independently, celebrate difference, and question norms – these things we’ve deployed in disrupting the competitive energy drinks category.”

The road to Dragons’ Den began in earnest when the group launched on a crowdfunding platform in 2021, before they achieved the perfect blend of ‘PerfectTed’ – which fuses fresh fruit juice with matcha.

Over the past two years, the Levenfiches have found strength in the aforementioned four R’s. “Resourcefulness has been incredibly important as we take on the likes of Red Bull with way bigger marketing budgets,” reveals Teddie, who left UCS in 2015, two years after Levi’s departure. “It’s forced us to be scrappy and do things that aren’t necessarily ‘scalable’ to get an edge.

“Responsibility has been key since I left the world of finance where I had countless layers of managers above me that were steering the ship. We’ve had to chart our own path and figure things out along the way – we liken it to building a plane while flying it.

“Having supportive parents, grandparents, and friends from UCS, has been a key support system for us. Resilience has also been super important given how competitive the food and drink industry is. Thankfully, we didn’t get any nos in the Den, but we have had many challenges along the way.”

Teddie and Levi’s story shows that graduates of UCS don’t just go on to the same old careers, but are entrepreneurial, risk-taking and proactive. Indeed, Teddie credits his UCS best friend Jack Morgan as the inspiration for his entrepreneurship.

“Jack was my best friend from three years old and sadly passed away a few years after graduating from UCS and going to Bristol University,” he says. “Dragons’ Den was one of Jack’s favourite shows and he inspired me, like many others, to dream big, pursue my passion, and spread positive energy at every opportunity. Jack embodied everything our brand stands to try to achieve and fuels our ambition to be ‘more like Jack’ every single day.”

The boys’ alma mater – where their mother, Tania, still heads the Parents’ Guild, and brother Didier is in Year 12 – wouldn’t have it any other way!

‘PerfectTed’ (www.perfectted.com) launched at Tesco on 27th February in single cans (RRP £1.75; also included in Tesco Meal Deal) and from 13th March will be available in four-can multipacks (RRP £6). The Levenfiches’ Dragons’ Den episode aired at 8pm on Thursday 2nd March.

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