Alex Drysdale, a resident of Stony Mountain, Manitoba, always felt an inner driver to become an entrepreneur, but didn’t really know it was possible until just a couple years ago. Like many entrepreneurs, Alex dabbled with entrepreneurial things such as buying old houses, renovating them and then renting them out on the side of juggling his full-time job, and to him, he loved being the one responsible for making the decisions. “Whether it worked out or not was on me,” Alex shared.
Having a full-time job was making Alex miserable, he didn’t like being forced to sometimes take instructions that made little sense, and after being with his previous job for nine years, he knew it was do or die time. “I quit, sold everything, and moved to Europe to learn all about e-commerce from some smart, experienced friends,” Drysdale shared.
While Alex was increasing his skillset and knowledge in the e-commerce world, he happened to read an article on Facebook about a company making protein bars with crickets. “As I started reading about why the company chose crickets, the answers kept getting better,” Alex explained. “Being focused on health and fitness my whole life, the benefits definitely appealed to me and I wanted to give them a try.” After hours of searching online for a protein powder made from crickets, since Alex didn’t eat protein bars, he realized there was a gap in the industry. “I remember right then and there, I swiveled around on my chair, erased my entire white board and put ‘Cricket Protein Powder’ at the top, ordered up some ground crickets, and went to work experimenting.”
But why crickets? Alex explained that there are two sides to this question. First off they are nutritious and naturally high in protein, which means that when you grind them up into a powder, they don’t need to be processed. “Crickets are high in calcium, iron, B12, omegas, zinc, magnesium, amino acids, and more,” Alex listed off. On the other hand, crickets are eco-friendly, they use less feed and water than beef or dairy, and produce very little greenhouse gases.
Fun Fact: The methane livestock expel is 30x more harmful than the CO2 that comes from transportation. Plus, livestock produces more than all types of transportation combined and uses up ½ of all landmass in the U.S.A. Crickets use 2000x less space and grow 13x faster!
The environmental and health facts of using crickets for protein seem clear, but Alex told us about all the hard work and energy he’s put into turning this idea, that started from reading an article on Facebook, into reality. “If an aspiring entrepreneur wants to start a business, and develop a consumer product like Crik Nutrition, they’re going to have to be all in and willing to learn and become an expert,” Alex explained. “When you’re an entrepreneur, you have to wear many, many hats, and a lot of those hats suck, but when you’re passionate and believe in something, it makes it more bearable.”
Even though Alex has worked hard to become a subject expert in using crickets for nutrition, he couldn’t stress enough how important it is for entrepreneurs to get help and reach out for advice. Alex is a recipient of the Spin Master Innovation Fund, a program supported by Spin Master Ltd. and Futurpreneur Canada, where innovative entrepreneurs compete for up to $50K in financing, mentoring, and the opportunity to connect, and attend expert-lead workshops. “Getting personalized mentoring and consulting in every department of my business from such an experienced team was huge and once in a lifetime,” Alex shared about his Spin Master Innovation Fund experience.
Since launching Crik Nutrition, Alex has seen his hard work pay off. He is the only Canadian company out of 50 finalists in the Global Entrepreneurship Network’s Startup Open and was also recently named on CNBC’s list of the 20 Hottest Start-Ups in the World. Although Alex attributes his recent recognition to the fact that crickets are a big attention grabber, he also feels that since health, sustainability and animal welfare are such hot topics right now; crickets really hit the nail on the head.
With Alex’s determination and commitment to his business, there’s no doubt we will continue to see him and his product popping up all over the place, and for those wanting to compete with him, he laughed as he told us that you better be good and hungry because he’s putting all his energy he has into this!
Written By: Lauren Marinigh, Social Media & Content Creation Coordinator, Futurpreneur Canada