Shark Tank just aired with yet another Utah startup on deck – Crio Bru ( www.criobru.com ). Kisstixx, PowerPot, Scan, and others have preceded them. They represent amazing home grown entrepreneurs born in the amazing startup ecosystem that is Utah, ranked as a top state to grow a business. As a 10 year business success with PilmerPR, a board member of Utah Valley Entrepreneurial Forum (UVEF), co-founder of the local chapter of 1 Million Cups, and a weekend professor of entrepreneurship at Utah Valley University (UVU), I’m constantly interfacing and consulting with these new, cool startups. I like Crio Bru’s chances.
What a blast to accelerate the launch of more than 40 startups to date, four of which have reached the Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Companies in America list (Mozy, Seastone, Lendio, AdvancedMD). Shark candidate and Scan founder, Garrett Gee was an amazing UVEF apprentice the year I was chairman. Wow! Did he go to school on entrepreneur awesome, or what?! He thought Shark Tank was a terrific PR coup, regardless of shark feedback. Caleb Light and David Toledo were very gutsy, pitching Power Practical PowerPot to the “I’m out” sharks. Ultimately, Mark Cuban jumped on the deal, accepting a counter to his counter offer. The fun part was seeing the same confidence in Caleb as I saw the first time I saw him pitch to us when I judged a UVU startup competition. We gave them high marks even then.
Well, the guys over at Crio Bru are equally awesome as their predecessors in the Shark Tank. Although Justin Ely and Eric Durtschi didn’t tell me the outcome pre-show, I was confident of the value of Crio Bru to investors. And, just because none of the sharks bit on the taste, doesn’t mean the company wasn’t a huge PR (public relations) winner. They don’t represent every target market. I use the product daily and 500+ retailers can’t be too wrong about the Blue Ocean (little competition) in the market.
Here’s a sample of their well thought out plan. Some cocoa companies source rare varieties and create amazing, somewhat expensive product using cocoa from little known villages harvesting operations around the world (i.e.. Amano). While the “overtone” tastes may appeal to the distinguishing palette, scalability of the supply is suspect.
Contrast Crio Bru. They focus on a few awesome cocoa flavors that taste terrific, but whose supply chain is solid and scalability of supply is doable. That’s smart. We’ll see, but I’m thinking the market, and hopefully the sharks embrace this yummy brewed cocoa drink that rocks my socks!
The science between Crio Bru’s theobromine vs. coffee’s caffeine:Share