Embark with Xoi Juice
This month, the first cohort of Embark Fellows are launching crowdfunding campaigns to support their ventures before working on them full-time after graduation. We'll be interviewing them on Swearer Sparks during the campaigns to spread the word about their inspiring ventures.
First up: meet Myron Lam '15 and Linh Tran '15, co-founders of Xoi Juice. Learn more and check out their video on Indiegogo until May 8.
Q: What is your venture and how did you start working on it?
Linh: Xoi Juice is a ready-to-drink functional juice made from Gac, a Vietnamese superfruit with 70 times more lycopene than tomatoes, and 10 times more beta-carotene than carrots. These antioxidants have been scientifically proven to improve prostate, heart, eye and skin health - concerns that men are increasingly susceptible to and aware of. At the core of Xoi Juice's business model is our social mission. We hope that by directly engaging ethnic minority farmers in the cultivation of our Gac fruit, we can play a part in empowering the Ede community in the Central Highlands of Vietnam.
Myron: We were first introduced to Gac by our host mother during our stay with the Ede ethnic minority community in the Central Highlands of Vietnam in the summer of my Sophomore year. She approached us with a Gac fruit that grew in her backyard and asked if we could make something out of it.
Q: What is the most important lesson you've learned since starting Xoi Juice?
Myron: One thing I have realized is that not everything has be to perfect. Sometimes it's much more effective to just get the message across as quickly as possible, instead of mulling over it. This is such an important lesson to learn in life, and I'm glad I did so relatively early on with Xoi.
Q: What is the biggest challenge you've faced since starting Xoi Juice?
Linh: The biggest challenge to me has always been to find a balance. This involves finding a balance between being a student and working on a venture; between being a friend and a business partner; and between fulfilling responsibility and pursuing dreams. This has been by no means a smooth and relaxed journey, yet I continue to learn, embrace, and evolve with the venture.
Q: What is critically important about the work you are doing that you want your supporters to understand?
Myron: Data often suggests that Vietnam's rapid growth has successfully eliminated poverty in the span of 30 years, but what we don't realize is that this wealth hasn't been equally spread. When I went to Ho Chi Minh City, it was amazing to see how quickly Vietnam was changing and developing. Yet, the contrast was clear when we visited the Central Highlands, one of the most underdeveloped regions of the country where most ethnic minorities lived.
Linh: Our social mission is to elevate the ethnic minority community's welfare and financial income. In addition to the major inequality gap in welfare and living condition in comparison with the urban areas, the ethnic minority community in the Central Highlands of Vietnam also faces multiple difficulties and risks in their agricultural activities. Xoi Juice seeks to tackle these issues, providing benefits to the community.
Q: What are you most excited about for your time in the Embark Fellowship?
Linh: Definitely to be challenged by hands-on experiences, at the same time as being able to pursue my own passions. I'm nervous, but thrilled and excited about what's awaiting the Xoi Juice team in the coming year.
Myron: I'm really excited about working on this venture full-time. One of my biggest struggles have been balancing Xoi with schoolwork with extra-curriculars. I'm sure we'll be just as busy next year (if not more), but at least everything I do will be contributing towards the same goal!
Q: What's one interesting fact that people might not know about you?
Linh: I have a scar shaped like Vietnam on my left foot. It was from a motorbike accident when I was four.
Myron: I can lick my elbow. Yes, I am superhuman. And no, I will not show you!