Three years in the past, the DeCicco brothers got here up with the thought for Kitu Life in a university dorm room.
Jordan DeCicco was a basketball participant at Philadelphia University on the lookout for a extra nutritious various to the power drinks he noticed on the cabinets of grocery shops. He and his brothers, Jim and Jake, who had additionally been faculty athletes, devised a bottled espresso drink made with Colombian espresso, lactose-free protein, and MCT oil from coconuts.
Today, the firm is valued at about $50 million and Kitu Life merchandise — which embody Super Coffee and Super Creamer — are offered in Wegmans, Whole Foods, and Fairway. Jordan has since dropped out of college, whereas Jim has ditched his Wall Street gig to go all in on the enterprise.
In November, the DeCiccos had been named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 listing of innovators in the food and drinks area.
Much of Kitu Life’s success has hinged on their look on “Shark Tank” in February 2018 (the firm was then known as Sunniva Super Coffee). The founders went on the show asking for $500,000 for a four.5% stake of their firm and walked away with out a deal — however Jim informed Business Insider that the show was nonetheless a significant boon for his or her entrepreneurial careers.
“The best outcome of ‘Shark Tank,’ despite the publicity, was how prepared we became for our business,” he stated.
In the month main as much as their look, the founders devoted each spare second to making ready for something and all the pieces that might occur in the tank. They divided the 90-second pitch into three elements — one for every brother — and practiced it always: in the gymnasium, in the automotive, in elevators.
“People would look at us like we were crazy, because we were walking down the street in here in New York City, just talking to ourselves doing this pitch,” Jim stated. “That’s how we memorized it.”
(Interestingly, the founders of Cousins Maine Lobster additionally stated they practiced their pitch in numerous varieties of conditions with the intention to get extra comfy with it.)
The Kitu Life founders known as on traders, advisers, and even former professors to assist them stage mock pitches. And as soon as the founders had given their official “Shark Tank” pitch and gone via the Sharks’ interrogation, they felt like they may deal with something.
The Kitu Life founders found new varieties of prospects they hadn’t anticipated
Another benefit of their “Shark Tank” expertise was that it expanded their buyer base: People who they’d by no means imagined utilizing Super Coffee or Super Creamer had been sharing their ideas (some constructive, some unfavorable) on the merchandise.
They’d initially marketed the product to school athletes, however Jim stated they discovered that “millennial moms with money” — i.e. comparatively rich mother and father of younger youngsters — had additionally taken a liking to Super Coffee and Super Creamer.
The Kitu Life founders aren’t the solely entrepreneurs to look past money when they consider the advantages of showing on “Shark Tank.”
Read extra: People suppose startup founders go on ‘Shark Tank’ for big-name traders and a pile of money, however entrepreneurs who’ve executed it say that is not likely the level
Randy Goldberg, cofounder of sock firm Bombas, beforehand informed Business Insider that, though Bombas landed a $200,000 deal, making ready for the questions he may be requested was helpful for future conferences.
Similarly, Jack Mann, founder of earplugs firm Vibes, beforehand informed Business Insider that though he turned down a $100,000 supply, he found new makes use of for the earplugs. Initially, he was centered on utilizing the product at live shows — however he discovered that individuals had been excited to make use of it at health courses and sporting occasions, and even on bike rides.
As for the founders of Kitu Life, Jim stated, “The fact that we did it on that [‘Shark Tank’] stage made every other business meeting a piece of cake, or much more comfortable than it otherwise would have been.”
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