nu company founder Mathias Tholey - from engineering studies to founding a company
After Christian and Thomas (co-founders of the nu company) have already told their start-up story, I, Mathias Tholey, am very happy to share my little story with you - my way to the nu company.
The beginning of the beginning
My journey starts very, very early in my life - and with quite a challenge: Unfortunately, my mom couldn't breastfeed me when I was a baby, which gave me quite a stomach ache and my parents screamed for many months. However, breast milk is essential and irreplaceable for developing a strong immune system. Without breast milk, not a particularly great immune system - a very simple equation. So that was the beginning of a long journey through numerous medical and non-medical practices well into my youth.
The Wisdom of Winston Churchill
When I was young, I read a speech at school by Sir Winston Churchill, who had now aged a very long time: Hundreds of prominent personalities had been invited. Churchill hobbled slowly to the lectern and looked out at the crowd. Everyone eagerly awaited the words of this historic figure. And he started his speech by saying, "never, never, never, never give up." And... that's it! He looked at the audience for a few more seconds and then left the stage, which did not exactly arouse enthusiasm among the majority of those present. But the message got through after a while – to me too. The most important thing for him was always to never give up – no matter how hopeless the situation might be. At that time, this realization burned itself very deeply into my pubertal character, which was very receptive at the time.
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I noticed early on that many people didn't have much of a grasp of what they were trying to teach me about health. At some point it dawned on me that I had to take matters into my own hands and make my health a top priority. So I devoured many books on alternative healing methods and nutritional physiology and tried out just about every therapy and form of nutrition that was available. My friends and relatives often shook their heads when they saw all the things I prepared. However, my stubbornness kept me from deviating even an inch from my path. This often meant taking detours at first, but this was the only way I could find the optimal way of life for me. Today I'm finally doing really well thanks to a vegan diet, intermittent fasting and regular exercise. So it certainly has something to do with these issues – but not only. The fact that I had found a project in nucao that I was passionate about like no other before certainly also played a large part.
Additional training and healthy chocolate
Last but not least, I couldn't avoid training as an alternative practitioner, without which I would not have had access to the really exciting seminars in medicine and nutritional science. But maybe this combination of medicine light and the Aachen engineering school laid the foundations for optimized and healthy chocolate 😉 In any case, this time taught me perseverance, resilience and stubbornness - all important basic ingredients for the nucao recipe.
nu company – the brilliant idea
Still semi-numb to my free thinking and creativity from my studies, a combination of an earlier birthday present and the dreadful English meal finally sparked the idea. The impetus for nucao came from my girlfriend at the time, who melted my favorite chocolate for my birthday and refined it with a few nuts and berries. This idea, together with a portion of hemp seeds, later became the basis for the first nucao recipe. After we had collected an extra portion of founder motivation in lectures on start-ups and start-up management in Aachen, we were ready for our big adventure: founding a food start-up.
With this combination of cornerstones in my life, I was sure that I had found my way in the nu company. Green behind our ears, but highly motivated to pour our principles and values into products, we threw ourselves into the start-up adventure at the beginning of 2016 with the outcome: UNCERTAIN.
Looking back, we were incredibly naïve in many ways at the start and made a hell of a lot of mistakes. But this activism also helped us in the early phase of founding to overlook one or the other doubter and just keep going. In the meantime we have experienced really tough times and have often reached our mental and physical limits. Whether I ever thought about the more relaxed and better-paid job as an engineer for a well-known German company while I was rinsing the nucao molds for hours – of course. And in difficult hours, the comparison really hurt, to be honest. But even when I was up to my neck in water, I never thought about giving up. I'm sure old Winston would have done nucao and today the nu company too. 😉