While students at Cal State Fullerton in 2000, Ted Vu and Scott Nguyen heard about a new boba tea craze hailing from Taiwan and making its way to Orange County. Curious about the beverages filled with balls of tapioca, also known as bubble tea, the pair visited the first two stores that opened in Irvine: Tapioca Express and Lollicup. With lines snaked out the doors both day and night, Vu ’02 (B.A. business administration-finance) and Nguyen ’04 (B.F.A. art-entertainment art/animation) instantly saw an opportunity.
“Growing up in the U.S., we both were exposed to the creativity of Jamba Juice and the customer experience of Starbucks,” says Vu. “We decided at that moment, we would start a tea company focusing on a wide variety of creative drinks and delivering an exceptional customer experience.”
Friends since high school, the pair share how at 22 years old — with no business experience or financial credit — they wrote a business plan at Cal State Fullerton that opened the door to their first Tastea beverage store.
“What I learned at CSUF helps me lead my team of creatives: I’m able to understand their workflow and give guidance,” Nguyen said.
Read more about these entrepreneurial Titans here.