Jessica Lloyd & David Mandelbaum, cofounders of PANATEA

Jessica Lloyd and David Mandelbaum were tired of relying on coffee to fuel their 12-hour workdays—hers in finance and his in entertainment. After discovering matcha (a strong, concentrated green tea), which is traditionally mixed with hot water and sipped during Japanese tea ceremonies, their energy and moods improved so much, they were inspired to bring the ancient brew to market. In 2014, the couple—both 29—launched PANATEA, which sells matcha through their site, (along with the whisks classically used to prepare it), and offers recipes (pancakes, fro yo) that incorporate and demystify the powder. Here, their advice on partnering successfully.

Follow Your Instincts: “Matcha involves some technique and prep time. We were worried whether people would be OK with that. As we hoped, they enjoy that little break as much as we do.” —Jessica

Grow Smart: “Now that we have five employees, it’s important to set tangible goals and ensure everyone has a role in getting there. That way you all feel a sense of ownership.” —David

Seek Out Mentors: “We have a program called Tea on Me, where we ask interesting people to have a cup of matcha with us. It’s led us to mentors like the founder of Soma water. It’s helpful to have a trusted advisor outside of our relationship.” —Jessica

Why We’re a Good Team: “She makes everything happen, while I spend a lot of my time brainstorming big-picture ideas.” —David

Creativity Trick: “When I need to think through a problem, I go for a run.” —Jessica

The Bright Side: “On weekends, I throw on comfy clothes and work out, then explore museums and art galleries.” —Jessica

mixing matcha tea

Power Food: “Matcha is so versatile—a scoop mixed with yogurt and topped with berries is a great breakfast.” —Jessica

Tea Time: “We use the Japanese technique of whisking matcha and water into tea.” —David

Brain Boost: “A handful of nuts is one of my go-to snacks; the protein is energizing.” —Jessica

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