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My Business Journey: Aisha Chottani, CEO of Moment

With exciting developments on the horizon, we sat down with Moment’s CEO Aisha Chottani to find out about her journey to business success

Aisha Chottani holding a can of Moment drink

Can you tell us about the background and experiences that led you to become an entrepreneur and the CEO of Moment?

Growing up, my parents each had their own blend of herbs which would change with the seasons to support their different needs. In many Asian and South-Asian cultures, people have been proactively thinking about mind and body health for thousands of years and use herbs and oils for all sorts of needs. There’s no issue too big that can’t be solved in a natural way. So I grew up consuming many of the botanicals and adaptogens we use in Moment.

Then, as part of my professional career at McKinsey, I got the opportunity to work on projects related to growth, leadership and business strategy with some of the largest global CPG companies. I learned a lot about the different aspects of consumer products and saw the huge need for change in this space. Throughout this period, I still found adaptogens and botanicals very beneficial in improving my own physical and mental health, especially when times could get stressful. I started to become interested in the science behind it and began speaking with experts and doing my own research. I quickly realized that these super herbs can have a hugely powerful impact on the human brain and body.

Being from an entrepreneurial family - my Dad was a true entrepreneur who tried his hand at several different businesses - I felt the need to start something. Even after my Dad passed away, he left a legacy through his work and I found that really inspiring. 

So when COVID hit and I saw the world going through so much chaos, I decided it was time for me to take the step and do something that would change the world for the better - I launched Moment.

In a way, Moment is my entire life coming together and falling into place.

Moment first production run
Moment's first production run during the first lockdown at a small facility in Brooklyn, New York

Can you tell us about Moment and the functional beverage product category?

The world is going through a massive cultural shift. Consumers are becoming more aware of their identities and thoughtful of what they consume. They don’t just consume a product, they consume an experience and a story, something that connects to their values and identity. 

I find the beverages industry really exciting as drinking is the most fundamental human need. Americans already purchase 1.5 beverages a day on average, so there is a huge opportunity for us to create a ritual through beverages that is rooted in positivity, physically and mentally. This is how functional beverages came into play. 

Plus, with the decline of alcohol and sugary products, functional beverages have accelerated into a ~$200 billion industry, globally. However, this category is itself changing as the culture changes, shifting from traditional energy or kombucha-based functional beverages to new functions such as relaxation and calm focus.

That’s where Moment comes in. It is a natural beverage that replicates the same effect as a meditation by affecting two specific functions of your body:

  1. It balances your cortisol levels and therefore your stress levels  
  2. It boosts your cognitive functioning

Can you talk us through your partnership with BTV and your shared values?

We met BTV very early on and so we’ve had the great opportunity to grow and build together. We share some core beliefs centered on innovation, excellence, and diversity, which creates a synergy between us.

BTV believes in backing ideas that can disrupt the status quo and this shared value has brought us closer. Moment is not a slight enhancement of something that currently exists, it’s a movement, a completely new paradigm on life and mind-state. We are building an entirely new functional beverage category.

I am focused on building a successful business that impacts society, along with a business that conquers and excels at everything we do - from digital marketing and data analytics to the supply chain. Conquering tough challenges that usually floor other startups is one of the most exciting parts of entrepreneurial life.

Lastly, we are all about diversity. From our diversity of flavors to the diversity of our people. Our core team consists of 60% women, represented across races and sexual identities. I am a strong believer that you need to have diverse perspectives in every aspect of the business to bring out the best ideas and be a true innovator.

Moment stall
Moment team at the first trade show - KeHE Summer 2020

How has Moment grown since collaborating with BTV and why do you think functional products are resonating with consumers right now?

I really value our partnership with BTV as they have been great thought partners, especially Lexy, the investment principal at BTV. They support us, challenge us and ensure we are our best selves and hold up to our commitments. Beyond the core group, we get to connect with so many incredible experts in the broader BAT network, specialists in particular fields such as fulfilment or the usage of recyclable packaging material.

Furthermore, BInspired has allowed for deeper conversation around particular business areas, as well as learning and connection with other entrepreneurs in the BTV portfolio. The latter has been particularly helpful over time and we support and advise each other.

Have there been any challenges along the way, and if so, how did you overcome them together?

It’s almost three years since we started Moment and we are so excited to make it here. It’s a privilege that few can afford.

Our plan is to shape the future culture - we believe we all need to be calm, focused and physically healthy to be our best selves and we want to support that through Moment. This is not going to be easy. To achieve our goals, we need to grow two or three times yearly, we need to drive awareness across online and real-life channels and continue building our community. We also have some product innovations in the pipeline, which is my favorite part.

BTV is going to be hand-in-hand with us in this journey. As well as being an investor, BTV supports us as a thought partner with expertise in this sector and they’re key to ensuring we have the infrastructure to achieve our ambitious goals. We also aim to work with BTV to expand into the convenience channel in the next two years, which is really exciting. Watch this space!

Written by
Andrea McVeigh
Communications and Social Media Manager
Written by
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