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Andre started Matcha.com in 2016. They detail the beginnings of their company in their Starter Story interview: 
Q: How did you get started on Matcha.com?
I grew up in a military (family) which allowed me to travel all over the world. This was challenging at times but it was also (provided) a world-class education in that it taught me a tremendous amount about other cultures. It also taught me the importance of listening to the perspectives of others. This has served me very well in life and in business.
> Systems are vital. You need to think long and hard about building the systems that will replace you so that when you scale you can remove yourself from the operations and focus on growing the business.
I was fascinated by all things Japanese (every) since I took my first martial arts (lesson) in my teen years. It came in handy each time I met the school bully at each new base we moved to. We eventually settled in the US and I started on my entrepreneurial path. My first trip to Japan came in 2007 when I traveled with my business partner Dr. Andrew Weil. It was during this trip that I first had great matcha green tea (it was not available in the US at that point - at least the good matcha that is). I became transfixed by its brilliant green color, the ancient culture surrounding it, and how it made me feel after I drank my first bowl. When we returned to the US we searched for the same level of quality but it was nowhere to be found. Thus an idea was born.
We know we would have to overcome (several) challenges if we were to be successful in the US. One, of course, was finding a great source of matcha and the other was educating the American consumer about all things matcha. One can not just fly to Japan and knock on a matcha farmers’ front door and ask to buy his matcha. They will not even talk to you. If by some chance you do make a connection it’s probably going to be a 3rd party wholesaler brokering a low grade of matcha. One thing to note - about 80% of all the best matcha grown in Japan stays in Japan for their consumption.
Japan is in many ways a very traditional culture in the sense that you need to know the right people, be introduced to the right people. These connections are facilitated based on trust and reputation. One has to earn trust and respect. They also need to know that you are serious and that you will honor the work and effort necessary to have access to the best matcha. Let’s just say it took us a solid few years to build those connections.
Once we connected with a farming family that’s been producing high-quality matcha since 1602 we started bringing in samples to the US for friends and family. Our matcha even won a few prestigious tea competitions in Japan. We knew we had the right matcha.