Health enthusiast, avid athlete and Austrian entrepreneur Constantin Bisanz founded ALOHA in January 2014 with a mission to help others live healthier, happier lives. Along with his team, Constantin creates real food products made from simple, pure, sustainably-sourced ingredients, offering accessible solutions for everyone to maintain a healthy lifestyle. His inspiration for founding ALOHA came from studying Ayuryedic medicine in India—a holistic approach to health and wellness centered on the balance of mind, body and spirit—combined with his belief that nutrition is the foundation to overall wellness. This philosophy, fueled by his frustration with weak regulation, conflicting messages and lack of quality products and information in the food and health industries, laid the groundwork for ALOHA.
Prior to founding ALOHA, Constantin founded five companies – the first at the young age of 14. Most recently, his company Brands4Friends, a fashion e-commerce site that grew to 1,000 employees across three countries in three years, was sold to eBay in 2011. He was named “Entrepreneur of The Year” by Harvard Business School and named “Exit Champion” for closing Germany’s largest Internet exit transaction. Constantin is the co-founder and host of the global “CEO Dinner Series” held in Berlin, New York, San Francisco, and London and the annual “CEO Berlin Conference” that both connect the world’s greatest entrepreneurs and leading minds. An ardent kite surfer, Constantin broke the world record for kitesurfing from Alaska to Russia across the Bering Strait in summer of 2011. He organizes kitesurfing events for entrepreneurs with Sir Richard Branson on Necker Island. Now living in the United States, he spends his time between New York City, San Francisco and Maui.
What do you do best?
Above all else, I value my ability to bring people together and align them behind a singular vision. I’m always passionate about what I do and that excitement is contagious; I use it to inspire my team, my investors, my industry and eventually my customers.
I have started several companies and not all of them were in industries in which I was an expert. When I started TruckScout24 I knew nothing about commercial vehicles; I also knew nothing about fashion when I started Brands4Friends. In both cases I hired key opinion leaders in the industry, assembled highly experienced teams, sought out the right investors and basically built the companies on my ability to unite like-minded people. That is what I do best, and a critical element of my success.
What makes you the best?
I have always been extremely goal-oriented. I know exactly what I want to achieve in my life; it’s a “master plan” I’ve crafted and honed since I was young, and it keeps me motivated. I’m a visionary guy and I like to think big, so of course I have long-term plans, but I also write down yearly, bi-yearly, even monthly goals. It is so much easier to achieve something if you have a clear idea of what you want to do. I honestly have been writing my own obituary for years now because it helps me to think about what I want to accomplish in my life, both professionally and personally. Most importantly, I want to have a positive impact on this planet and the people living on it. That’s why I started ALOHA, because it makes healthy choices accessible for everyone. It’s a positive contribution I am making to the world, which gets me closer to my life goal. I think this clarity sets me apart.
What are your aspirations?
As I mentioned, the overarching objective I have in my life is to leave the world a better place. I want the things I make to help people lead healthier and happier lives. I have always admired businesspeople like Bill Gates who use their money for good causes, but my goal is to also start my businesses with a strong social mission. If I believe that my brand will help people achieve health and wellness, then I will work tirelessly to ensure its success. A savvy business model with a compassionate mission is an unbeatable combination.
Personally, my goal is to continue to find ways to achieve health and happiness through food, exercise, meditation, self-reflection, and positive relationships. I am constantly looking for ways to improve my routine. I take a dynamic approach to life so that I’m always growing.
I sold Brands4Friends to Ebay in 2010, which was a huge accomplishment. I am probably most proud of what that sale allowed me to do afterwards – I traveled around the world and was able to invite my family to spend time with me. I told my mother, father and three sisters to each pick a dream location and we would go there. I took my father to Brazil, my mother to Burma, and my sisters to Bali, the Caribbean and Maui; all separate trips so that I could get quality time with each one of them. I am so lucky to have a close family and being able to thank them for their support in such a special way feels like my biggest success to date.
Most Challenging Moment?
Right before I started ALOHA, I was working on founding a company in Brazil that was going to sell office supplies throughout Latin America. I had raised all the money I needed, secured investors, began hiring a team…all the pieces were in place. It never felt right, though, and I had this epiphany when I realized I just couldn’t focus all my energy on something about which I didn’t feel passionate, and office supplies definitely fell into that category. It was a smart concept and I stood to make a lot of money, but I just didn’t feel connected to the mission at all. Making the decision not to go through with that idea after I already had all the funding in place was incredibly challenging, but I had to do it. However difficult that was, though, it started me on the path I’m on now, and I get to work on a brand and a product that I truly believe in. I now refer to that epiphany as my ALOHA moment!
Balance is the key to happiness. A well-lived life should be a combination of commitments: to being physically active, to nourishing your body with whole foods, to embracing mindfulness and meditation, to maintaining strong positive relationships, and to setting goals and sticking to them. I call these my five pillars of happiness, and when they are all in balance, I’m taking advantage of all life has to offer.
Favorite People/Role Models?
I have a lot of role models in my family. My parents are a great source of inspiration, and I’ve always looked up to one of my uncles, who has managed to strike that rare balance of professional success, humility and free-spiritedness. He was always a high achiever in business but he managed to take time off to visit catastrophe regions, donating his time as well as his money to rebuilding communities in need. On any given weekend he’d be racing cars or going to rallies in the desert, taking the time to have fun and unwind. I admire that in successful people; it’s one of the reasons I also consider Richard Branson a role model. He’s insanely smart, he does a lot of charity work, and I always have a good time with him. Some people are powerful but they don’t have fun, and I just think that’s such a waste. You have to enjoy your life.
My fellow entrepreneurs also inspire me every day. I’m lucky to work in a space that’s ripe with innovation, and the people around me are my constant role models.
I love Maui. There is an energy vortex there that always makes me feel spiritually charged, and the lushness of the landscape combined with the proximity of the ocean is a powerful force. Everything grows there, so the options for fresh food are unlimited. I’m a big water sports guy so that’s another draw. I’m also completely in awe of the aloha spirit in Hawaii – alo means sharing, and ha means the breath of life, which I find so beautiful. I named my company ALOHA to communicate this; our mission is to bring the aloha spirit – that desire to share goodness with your peers – to everybody.
It maybe goes without saying but ALOHA products honestly are my favorite. I probably consume something ALOHA every two hours. I started the company because I couldn’t find any snack foods that I could trust, and with my busy lifestyle and commitment to health it was frustrating that anything I could grab on the go was full of unhealthy, unnecessary ingredients. We skip all the bad stuff, so our products are super clean and good for you.
In terms of an object, I recently acquired a LoveTuner. It’s sort of like a whistle and when you blow it, it creates a sound at a 528 megahertz frequency, which is commonly called the “love frequency”. It’s a healing series of vibrations that quiets the mind and stimulates feelings of love and happiness. I use it to supplement my daily meditation, and I find it helps set a positive tone for my day.
Right now I’m fixated on growing ALOHA into a wonderful, recognizable lifestyle brand that helps people make healthier choices. It’s my main passion and I truly enjoy doing it. I work with a great team, we have wonderful people supporting our cause, we make amazing products, and I’m excited about it every day.
A lifelong passion for me has been learning new ways to move my body and stay active. I’m currently working on perfecting my handstand - my ultimate goal is to hold it one-armed! I meditate twice a day and I practice acroyoga, and I’ve also been getting into gymnastics-style workouts with rings. I like exploring ways to use my own body weight and gravity to strengthen my muscles.