Philip Udeh was born with sickle cell disease. Due to his condition, Udeh endured a painful crisis during his childhood. While in college, he suffered a life-threatening kidney failure but luck was on his side as he made a full recovery.
Having gone through this tumultuous experience through childhood to adulthood, Udeh set out to find solutions for his condition. He started researching into ways he can improve his health condition and implemented a plant-based diet, nutritional herbs, and physical activities including yoga and tai chi, according to Forbes.
His breakthrough came when he made smoothies using natural ingredients such as Ginseng, Ashwagandha (also known as Indian ginseng), and Spirulina. He gave what he had made to a few friends to try. Based on their feedback, Udeh realized his mixture had a positive influence on their health.
That was how Udeh founded Füd Vitamin Energy to help people born with sickle cell anemia get on with their lives. He then took steps to formalize his product to ensure that the formula for his product was right and meet all the legal requirements. He established contact with a food technologist and they worked together on creating a product that could be brought to market.
He also solicited the assistance of some freelancers to help in the branding of the product. “Whilst things were moving along I realized to make it work and take it to the next level it needed an injection of capital and to go full time,” Udeh told Forbes.
To get funding to scale up the production of his business, he applied for an accelerator program but his application was dismissed. Many entrepreneurs would have given up at this stage but Udeh persisted and through networking, he met an angel investor.
After receiving funding in 2018, he started producing Füd drinks in scalable quantities for sale in corporate markets and college campuses. He later secured a distribution deal with national retailer Sainsbury in May 2019.
He subsequently received an offer from entrepreneur Peter Jones at Great Britain‘s version of Shark Tank but he declined the offer. Udeh chose the route of using crowdfunding to raise funds from his loyal customers. He was successful with the crowdfunding and channeled the funds into a reformulation and sleek rebrand.
The rebranding has helped the Füd Vitamin Energy drive up sales despite COVID-19 driving down sales of businesses and resulting in the collapse of Black-owned businesses.
Meanwhile, Udeh is starting another crowdfunding this month so as to allow more of his customers increase their stake in the company.