founders: Qasim and Asim Khan
founded: March 2017
Product: ZYN health drinks
goal: Develop a portfolio of all-natural products, including food, health and beauty items.
experience: Qasim founded revenue cycle management firm Global Focus Partners and previously worked in investment banking at Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc.; Asim also works at GFP, and previously was managing director at private equity firm Mason Wells.
A Shorewood-based startup established in March, SUR Natural Health Brands LLC, has released a new line of health drinks called ZYN.
The beverages contain curcumin and piperine, which founders Qasim and Asim Khan say have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Curcumin is found in turmeric and piperine helps the body absorb the ingredient, the company says.[caption id="attachment_341008" align="alignnone" width="770"] Asim and Qasim Khan recently launched SUR Natural Health Brands.
“One of the knocks here as curcumin has trended is the absorbability,” Qasim said. “We put black pepper extract (piperine) into our drink to increase the bioavailability of curcumin into our body.”
The brothers started to develop ZYN after a trip back to visit their native Pakistan in November 2016.
“We were in Pakistan with our parents. We were originally from there and visiting family. Our father has been a diabetic for close to 40 years now and on one of the days, he was having severe diabetic nerve pain,” Qasim said.
Their aunt made a paste from turmeric and olive oil and spread it on his foot. Soon, the pain had subsided and he was able to resume normal activities.
“The ‘aha’ moment for us was, we had been consuming all-natural ingredients for our daily diets as well as healing,” Qasim said. “Why don’t we bring ancient, time-tested wisdom from around the world to the modern consumer?”
ZYN drinks come in four flavors: lemon ginger, mango lychee, mixed berry and pomegranate cranberry. Made with all-natural ingredients, each drink has 20 calories, 4 grams of sugar and 200 milligrams of curcumin.
The beverages are sold in 16-ounce bottles on the company’s website and at grocers Good Harvest Market, Outpost Natural Foods, Sendik’s Fine Foods and Sugar Beet. The company also has plans to sell the drinks in corporate cafeterias and elsewhere in the Midwest.
“Turmeric has been thrown around as a cure-all recently for a lot of things, but the benefit and all the research is around curcumin,” Qasim said. “We also wanted to make a healthy drink that was enjoyable by the majority of the palates.”
SUR has its products made by a contract manufacturer in California, but hopes to bring production to Milwaukee someday, Asim said.
An investment banker and private equity investor by training, the Khan brothers always wanted to work together, they said. The pair has been self-funding the business.