Sweet Success: The Story Of Nexba

Robyn Foyster Robyn Foyster has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team


Feb 11, 2022

Troy Douglas is the co-founder of Nexba, an Australian sugar-free beverage company that has recently gone international to become the leading Kombucha brand in the UK. With plans to be in the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Belgium, the Nexba success story is just beginning.  

In a recent interview for TaurusTV, Troy chats with Taurus CEO Sharon Williams about the early years of Nexba and how his internship with Taurus was a turning point in his vision and realising what was possible for a beverage brand.

Read on to hear about the Nexba journey or you can watch the full interview below.

How did this success come about for Nexba?

Troy had a vision for a future business when he was still studying at university. He explains how one day, a guest lecturer called Sharon Williams, came into his tutorial.  “Suddenly, Uni and why I was studying communications, all started to make sense,” Troy says.

When Sharon finished her lecture, Troy asked her if he could be an intern at Taurus – her marketing company – because he was keen to work with her. This started a long and fruitful relationship where Troy absorbed a great deal of Sharon’s marketing and business clout. Later, when he actually started Nexba, he put into operation much of what he’d learnt.

Working on Nexba began early

Troy is one of the first to say his early days at Taurus were a major help to him.

“Everybody has a different journey and a different story and I think that at a young age, being surrounded by the Taurus environment gave me some pretty exciting confidence. I could see by what was going on around me, there’s an opportunity to make an impact in everything you do.

“Sharon has this passion and enthusiasm that can help connect people. She taught me to not be afraid to reach out to whoever because there are people with experience you can learn from.”

When looking back on those early days, Sharon reflects on this young man who was eager to learn and be the best.

“Troy was young, passionate, knew what he wanted to do and he had a vision for this future business, so it was magical to be able to offer him the internship and then a graduate position at Taurus, so I could actually take him under my wing.”

Troy says he was so keen to start Nexba, he began working on the company while he was still actually working at Taurus.

“It took me ten years to finish my degree because we began the business back in 2010. Sharon even allowed Drew and myself to have strategy sessions on the Nexba business in the old Taurus board room and that’s where it all started happening.”

Robyn Foyster interviews Troy Douglas and Sharon Williams

Nexba’s mission is still clear

While Troy and co-founder Drew Bilbe always had a mission to provide a naturally sugar-free brand of beverages with no artificial ingredients, they’ve held this mission steadfast over the years. As Troy says, “A big part of our reason for being is to make naturally sugar-free well-known and then hopefully, what we’ll see within every single category in food and beverage, will be that the predominant share of each category becomes naturally sugar-free products.”

But Troy explains it wasn’t easy developing the special way they sweetened their drinks, with it taking them nearly six years to crack their special formula.

“The art of Nexba is our IP which is Nexba Goodsweet,” he says. “It’s a blend of natural ingredients which allows us to replicate the experience of sugar but without anything artificial – and it tastes great!”

No artificial ingredients has always been part of the plan

As well as keeping sugar out of their drinks, Troy and Drew were determined to keep artificial ingredients out of their drinks. Troy adds it isn’t often exposed but when people consume a lot of artificial ingredients, this can be even worse from a health perspective.

“In the UK, there are $2 billion worth of soft drinks which are packed with aspartame,” says Troy, “… and this is an ingredient which has been shown to be directly linked to causing cancer in human trials, yet consumers are still being given these products. Ultimately, from an affordability perspective, people often grab what’s easily accessible,” he adds.

When the mission is clear, business works well

The fact that Troy and Drew have always been so passionate about providing a healthier alternative to the beverages which are readily available, has been a cornerstone to their success. With a clear mission, the pathway to success has always been clearer as well.

When asked what were the other keys to Nexba’s success, Troy is quick to point out a major help was the range of influential people he was introduced to at Taurus – including Peter Baron – who later became an important part of the Nexba team, taking up the role of Chief Innovation Officer.

“We called him the Nexba ‘Godfather’,” says Troy. “He instilled in me that businesses only die from within and success is the by-product of doing business right. This has formed a large part of the values that Drew and I have brought to Nexba.”

“It was while working with Sharon at Taurus that I learnt the confidence as a budding entrepreneur to be brave enough to reach out to people who I could learn from which was a huge step,” he adds.

“Every business is tough and everybody goes through challenges and ultimately, it’s the ability to be persistent and to push through that wins out. The Nexba values are to be brave, be collaborative, be real and to be fun. We still endeavour to live by these values every day.”


By Robyn Foyster Robyn Foyster has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team


Robyn Foyster is the owner and publisher of the lifestyle websites TheCarousel.com, GameChangers.com.au and WomenLoveTech.com. She is the only person to edit and publish Australia's three biggest flagship magazines - The Australian Women's Weekly, Woman's Day and New Idea. Robyn was Group Publisher of Bauer Media's most successful and prestigious magazines including Woman's Day, Good Health, Grazia and ran Hearst in Australia including Harper’s BAZAAR, Cosmopolitan and madison. Voted one of B&T's 30 Most Powerful Women In Media at the Women in Media Awards Robyn was a keynote speaker at Pause 2021, Cebit & J&J Women In Leadership. Robyn was also the winner of the prestigious Magazine Publisher Association’s Editor of the Year award.



The Carousel