When Liam White left JPMorgan's consumer and healthcare investment banking team in April 2017, he might have been expected to grab a pair of Allbirds and a hoverboard and go to the nearest technology start-up where his engineering, computing and maths degree would surely have been popular. Plenty of 26-year-old bankers have done just that, but White isn't just any 26 year-old. When White left JPMorgan, it was for ketchup.
Not just any old ketchup. Unleashed from JPMorgan, White sells high-end tomato and beetroot ketchup through Dr Will's, a company he co-founded with two friends (a doctor and restauranteur). There are also various twists on mayonnaise (classic, spicy, avocado, vegan), and barbecue sauce, all made without additives or preservatives. While some junior bankers dream of being tech entrepreneurs, White's aspiration is to be the king of condiments.
"We’re all foodies and we realized that there was so much sugar in ketchup that we felt there was an opportunity for healthier versions of things like ketchup, mayonnaise and barbecue sauce, made with healthy ingredients. I was seeing a food revolution happening and I thought we could be part of it," he says.
If you work in banking, you might already be familiar with White's condiments. They're on offer in the canteens of UBS and Deutsche Bank as well as Barings and places like Amazon. You can buy them in some supermarkets and through Ocado. You can also find them in Harvey Nichols, Selfridges and Holland & Barrett.
Like most people who leave banking, White says he has no regrets. "JPMorgan was a great grounding for starting a company. There was a very high learning curve for the first two years, but I just wasn’t sure that I wanted to stay for the amount of time it would take for me to become an MD and work very closely with clients.”
Outside of banking, White says he still works hard but that,"When you have weekend plans, you can have a weekend off and when you have a dinner you can."
Dr. Will's is still a small company that only files 'micro company' accounts, but White has big aspirations and says the days of crass ketchup are numbered. "No one cared about tonic before Fevertree,” he points out. In the short term, he wants to educate the taste buds of his former colleagues and to make Dr. Will's condiments available in JPMorgan's Canary Wharf canteen: "My ambition is to go full circle!”
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