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A young entrepreneur's idea: 'Shotspresso: A convenient bottle of high caffeinated coffee shot'

Jayw555

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Jul 11, 2019
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Hey FL Entrepreneurs,

Little bit of background, my name is Jay & I've actually just joined the forum but i've been ghosting on the site for over a half a year now. I don't even remember how i came to find this site. The more i discover about people's authentic stories and reading up to much of the discussion going around, i realized that these are the communities that can propel more like-minded entrepreneurs to chase their dreams. Many people on this forum are just dwindling on their ideas, some are in the process of executing and a minority of the people here have made their dreams come true. This is my first time posting onto this forum and i hope to participate to the future new threads. I'm 23 years old from Melbourne, Australia. Having to scale a business in the bay area in the USA would be a dream of mine i would say.

Anyhow, i've been working on a business idea i had for the broad consumer beverage market. The idea is called 'Shotspresso' and it's a bit further than an idea now, i have some prototypes and a full beverage with shelf-life testing done. Shotspresso is a tiny 1.35Oz/40mL shot of cold brew coffee which contains 150mg of caffeine. Shotspresso is very convenient and portable in ways that you can bring Shotspresso in your pocket to have a strong boost of natural coffee energy wherever you go. Check out some of the pictures below:
25678 25679

As you can see, it's definitely smaller than the phone (Samsung S8 for reference), and the slim figure makes it all comfortable in the pocket. Truck drivers can use this during their long drives with no cafe's to stop by. Late night students or office workers may use this if they wish to have fast caffeine without leaving their desk. I guess it's similar to the major company's 5-Hour Energy, except, this is the natural coffee version. I travelled overseas to source great coffee beans because taste is important too. But the aim of this product is to sell convenience to people. I also launched on Kickstarter too but i'm not here to advertise anything, if you want to check it out, just search 'Shotspresso' and it should appear.

Has anyone here been involved in the beverage industry? And what do you think of the product? I'd love to hear your raw thoughts and answer any questions.

P.s. I'm working on this myself so pressure is high, i wish i went out to find a passionate co-founder. Anyone experience this too?

Any advise would also be appreciated, thanks all,
Jay
 

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Siddhartha

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Good Idea, I see what you're going for,

HOWEVER

25681
What can you do that Forto Doesn't? It's a nestle/coca-cola operation that now sells organic coffee with hershey/nestle company flavorings for around 2.50$ a shot.
 
OP
OP
Jayw555

Jayw555

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Jul 11, 2019
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Good Idea, I see what you're going for,

HOWEVER

View attachment 25681
What can you do that Forto Doesn't? It's a nestle/coca-cola operation that now sells organic coffee with hershey/nestle company flavorings for around 2.50$ a shot.
Hey! Yeah Forto is pretty established and Shotspresso is a little bit different the way i designed and wanted to position our brand in the market: (I won't paragraph you, dont worry ;P )
1. Our Shot's are cheaper to produce $0.4 so we might have a price advantage
2. Forto's high price for a shot is quite expensive in my opinion given it's size, i think they could've potentially ignored the large student and youth market who majority live on coffee nowadays (like myself). I did some calculations and student's (university especially) have such a big market which $2.5 can be a deterrence for frequent use. With proper machinery and lower costs, i can eventually get my sale prices down to $1.3/retail. I prefer a High sales-low cost model than a medium sales-high cost model for this kind of consumer product. Just my opinion and analysis.
3. Our Shot's are smaller, slimmer and is a thin design which fit's easier and more comfortably in people's pockets
4. Their design wouldn't match to fit Hotels. One of my business model if it works, is to get into hotel distribution, so frequent travellers who need to get in-and-out of hotels after check in can grab a shot and leave. Our 'classy' and minimalist bottle design would look nice on a hotel desk or room desk.
5. Small advantage on this 5th point: Our product looks more, if you could say 'aesthetic' and can prompt lots of social media Instagram shares. But this is not too important.

Right now, i'm looking to get a 12-month shelf life from it's current 5-month shelf life.

There's probably more to pinpoint but those are some of the top of my head, our shot's are also higher in caffeine volume wise. Thanks for your question though, i need to list these if i ever had a chance to use a pitch deck!
 

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Love it! (Although I wouldn't be a user, trying to minimize caffeine intake!)
 

jon.M

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As a consumer, I think it's a great idea. I've actively searched for something like this. I like that you've got a black edition with unsweetened as an option.
 

PizzaOnTheRoof

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INFLUENCER MARKETING AND SOCIAL MEDIA

Good Idea, I see what you're going for,

HOWEVER

View attachment 25681
What can you do that Forto Doesn't? It's a nestle/coca-cola operation that now sells organic coffee with hershey/nestle company flavorings for around 2.50$ a shot.
All I see here is market validation...
 

msufan

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This is an incredibly polished idea with an already-proven demand. Impressive!
 

jesseissorude

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Came here to post about Forto Coffee too. I used to manage their on-site email collections.

1. Our Shot's are cheaper to produce $0.4 so we might have a price advantage
Sounds like you are trying to compete on price. I don't love it.
Plus, if you plan to beat Nestle/Coca-cola on price, you'll be in for a world of hurt.

2. Forto's high price for a shot is quite expensive in my opinion given it's size... With proper machinery and lower costs, i can eventually get my sale prices down to $1.3/retail. I prefer a High sales-low cost model than a medium sales-high cost model.
Related to #1. It does look like you are trying to brand as more "high end" with the packaging, but then coming in cheaper?
Also, Forto does really high volume. They are in most fancy grocery stores in addition to the other distribution channels you've mentioned. If you are trying to beat them on volume, you'll have a looong way to go and you'll likely need some runway capital, plan to run at a loss for a year as you get an economy of scale, and possibly find an investor (he/she will want equity, I'm sure).

If you do that, then you have one way in which the business can succeed. You need the stars to align and all the really high volume distribution to fall into place. If you don't have a team of employees beating the streets to get you into new stores, you'll have a lot of trouble getting that huge scale.

Just trust me, you aren't going to beat Forto on volume unless you get some major investor backing quickly. Forto's basically piggybacked on Nestle's distribution. Their main advantage is their reach and trust in their parent company.
(Fun for you though! If you take off on a small scale, you could be looking at an acquisition from Pepsi.)

That's ok though. If you are the "higher end" version, you can have a higher price and lower volume.

3. Our Shot's are smaller, slimmer and is a thin design which fit's easier and more comfortably in people's pockets
Neat!

4. Their design wouldn't match to fit Hotels. ...
This is an assumption. Can you test that?
Maybe there's a local hotel that you can find the manager of and take him/her out to coffee. What do they consider when stocking the lobby with snacks? They might even give you more ideas on how to be their ideal candidate if hotels are so important to your model.

...One of my business model if it works, is to get into hotel distribution, so frequent travellers who need to get in-and-out of hotels after check in can grab a shot and leave. Our 'classy' and minimalist bottle design would look nice on a hotel desk or room desk.

5. Small advantage on this 5th point: Our product looks more, if you could say 'aesthetic' and can prompt lots of social media Instagram shares. But this is not too important.
These two are basically the same. In a sentence it's "My product looks more elegant."

Honestly, it sounds like you have a little brand schizophrenia.
  • "I'm the more aesthetic, classy, minimalist one that will make travelers in fancy hotels not worry about skipping their Starbucks."

    vs.

  • "I'm cheaper and going to do higher volume. High sales, low cost."

Also the fact that Forto exists is GREAT for you. You have something people will compare you to (and a product that's already validated the market for you).

I think your next step is to decide what your brand identity is. Are you competing on price, or are you the Ferrari of coffee shots?
There's no right answer, but you'll need to settle on one or the other and pursue that vision 100%
 
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AgainstAllOdds

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And what do you think of the product? I'd love to hear your raw thoughts and answer any questions.
I'll play devil's advocate and toss some questions at you.

Why's this more valuable than the dozens of tiny coffees that are in every single convenient store in Asia?

Here's what I'm thinking of:

25701

Asian convenient store are filled with products that would fit a similar need to yours, however, there's likely a reason why they haven't caught on in the U.S.

There's Red Bulls that are a similar size to your shotspresso as well.

Then, there's products that are not coffee, but even more convenient - such as caffeine pills. Why would someone carry around a product that has to be refrigerated for taste if they can just take a pill?
 

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Came here to post about Forto Coffee too. I used to manage their on-site email collections.
Well damn, I wish Rep$ still existed so I could drop $500 in your account for that perfect write up.
 

Scot

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@Jayw555 Glad to see another Food & Bev guy on the forum. I hope you stick around.

@jesseissorude hit on almost every main point I was going to make, so I wont beat a dead horse.

One thing I will reiterate though is the capital cost for this. Forto, being owned by Hershey is going to beat you hands down on distribution. You will need to really focus on what makes you different and better. While you can't outspend them, you'll still need to hemorrhage cash to break into their market. You'll never turn a profit on this company. But that's fine. I don't ever plan on turning a profit on my company either. I'll let Kraft Heinz figure that out after they acquire my brand.

Check out the book High Hanging Fruit. Its about Zico Coconut water and I think it'll be super relevant to you.

Also, has anyone seen Midwestlandlord lately? He'd be perfect to help out on this thread because he know's C store distribution so well.
 

Justice Beaver

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This is an awesome idea. I made a thread recently about a food business idea I have so we should definitely get in contact if you're interested (although obviously yours is a beverage)

p.s. as far as the cane sugar goes as a sweetener, look up if you haven't already on erythritol, a natural sugar alcohol. I'm considering using it for testing my product in pretty small amounts because there seems to be a pretty decent amount of research done on it with tons of benefits. Might be worthwhile for you to test.
 

Plasma

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I want to add my $0.02 to this conversation.

I'm having a hard time agreeing with everyone else's "advice" in this thread, and I hope you carefully consider it all. There are plenty of direct-to-consumer brands KILLING it right now that have zero retail distribution, and there's no reason you can't have the same results, even being a consumable.

Forto coffee may be doing fine in retail. But that's THEIR play. Good for them. Stay focused on how you are going to be different and better. Don't play their game, or try to beat them at it. Play a completely different game, because you can!

By the way, their Instagram is shit. The content is "okay" but it's clearly an afterthought. Check it out: FORTO Energy Coffee (@fortocoffee) • Instagram photos and videos

Tuft & Needle (a local company here in PHX) built a direct-to-consumer business doing $250M/year focused solely on online customer acquisition channels (mainly paid ads believe it or not). By the way: a very very competitive and saturated market, but they essentially led the wave of new mattress-in-a-box brands.

Then you have brands like Movement who grew largely due to Instagram (they were doing over $70M/year).

These examples are just a couple out of hundreds, and who says you need to build a $50M/year company? $500K/year in profit would be an amazing place to be.

Anyway, to sum it up, I say focus on where consumers attention is today. The world on consumer products has changed a lot in the last decade. You can build a huge (and profitable) brand off Instagram alone, without playing the retail game. Going retail has killed so many great startups.. You can always go retail later, when you have the DEMAND.

Some of the advice given in this thread is solid, but some would send many entrepreneurs down the wrong path. I highly recommend reading into the stories behind some of the more recent successes, and one specific company/person is Tom Bilyeu who founded Quest Nutrition. They IGNORED retail for years, then went in with market demand and were in a much better position.
 

PizzaOnTheRoof

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I want to add my $0.02 to this conversation.

I'm having a hard time agreeing with everyone else's "advice" in this thread, and I hope you carefully consider it all. There are plenty of direct-to-consumer brands KILLING it right now that have zero retail distribution, and there's no reason you can't have the same results, even being a consumable.

Forto coffee may be doing fine in retail. But that's THEIR play. Good for them. Stay focused on how you are going to be different and better. Don't play their game, or try to beat them at it. Play a completely different game, because you can!

By the way, their Instagram is shit. The content is "okay" but it's clearly an afterthought. Check it out: FORTO Energy Coffee (@fortocoffee) • Instagram photos and videos

Tuft & Needle (a local company here in PHX) built a direct-to-consumer business doing $250M/year focused solely on online customer acquisition channels (mainly paid ads believe it or not). By the way: a very very competitive and saturated market, but they essentially led the wave of new mattress-in-a-box brands.

Then you have brands like Movement who grew largely due to Instagram (they were doing over $70M/year).

These examples are just a couple out of hundreds, and who says you need to build a $50M/year company? $500K/year in profit would be an amazing place to be.

Anyway, to sum it up, I say focus on where consumers attention is today. The world on consumer products has changed a lot in the last decade. You can build a huge (and profitable) brand off Instagram alone, without playing the retail game. Going retail has killed so many great startups.. You can always go retail later, when you have the DEMAND.

Some of the advice given in this thread is solid, but some would send many entrepreneurs down the wrong path. I highly recommend reading into the stories behind some of the more recent successes, and one specific company/person is Tom Bilyeu who founded Quest Nutrition. They IGNORED retail for years, then went in with market demand and were in a much better position.
OP listen to this ^

That’s $300 coaching call advice right there.

Fast, lean, direct to consumer is the future. Don’t give away leverage by going retail.
 

Kingsta

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When you have product and you're confident in it being better than current offerings, take it to a small startup, give them a weeks worth of coffee. They'll 100% re-order from you as long as your product is as good as you say it is.

Look for small startups that have raised $1M+ seeds or are series A+. You'll get recurring revenue for sure. I know a similar product that started the same.

If you want to reach out to some startups, hit me up. I know a few people at WeWork too, might be something they'd consider trialing, if it fits that startup culture.
 

Mattie

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Not sure if the energy means some kind of ingredient close to the energy drink industry, but i seen a nice video that showed how people are failing their drug screenings on those 5 hour little bottles of energy shots, energy drinks, and the tests were showing all positive. They did it right on the camera and showed it.

Wish I still had the link. Was pretty crazy seeing this since most factory workers will drink those energy drinks or other people that work on 3rd shift jobs to stay awake.
 

Champion

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Hey man, Really cool idea!

So my advice for the idea would be the following:

Since its just a shot and there is no real enjoyment of taste (such as sipping on coffee for an extended period of time), I think you should market it as one of two things (maybe even both):

1. A super potent shot which really kicks in strong and keeps you awake (The product must also deliver on that promise though!)

2. An Shot Experience (e.g. you mix it with alcohol or something to add some caffeine. Could be a replacement for vodka bull or something like that.)

Best
 

Heal Piece

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I want to add my $0.02 to this conversation.

I'm having a hard time agreeing with everyone else's "advice" in this thread, and I hope you carefully consider it all. There are plenty of direct-to-consumer brands KILLING it right now that have zero retail distribution, and there's no reason you can't have the same results, even being a consumable.

Forto coffee may be doing fine in retail. But that's THEIR play. Good for them. Stay focused on how you are going to be different and better. Don't play their game, or try to beat them at it. Play a completely different game, because you can!

By the way, their Instagram is shit. The content is "okay" but it's clearly an afterthought. Check it out: FORTO Energy Coffee (@fortocoffee) • Instagram photos and videos

Tuft & Needle (a local company here in PHX) built a direct-to-consumer business doing $250M/year focused solely on online customer acquisition channels (mainly paid ads believe it or not). By the way: a very very competitive and saturated market, but they essentially led the wave of new mattress-in-a-box brands.

Then you have brands like Movement who grew largely due to Instagram (they were doing over $70M/year).

These examples are just a couple out of hundreds, and who says you need to build a $50M/year company? $500K/year in profit would be an amazing place to be.

Anyway, to sum it up, I say focus on where consumers attention is today. The world on consumer products has changed a lot in the last decade. You can build a huge (and profitable) brand off Instagram alone, without playing the retail game. Going retail has killed so many great startups.. You can always go retail later, when you have the DEMAND.

Some of the advice given in this thread is solid, but some would send many entrepreneurs down the wrong path. I highly recommend reading into the stories behind some of the more recent successes, and one specific company/person is Tom Bilyeu who founded Quest Nutrition. They IGNORED retail for years, then went in with market demand and were in a much better position.
Just wanted to piggy back on this, because its so powerful. I own a tuft and needle mattress. The paid marketing is what got me in the door. But what sold me what something that separates the company from anyone else. If you don't like the mattress, you donate it to a local salvation army or habitat for humanity or anything of that sort. Then you show tuft and needle the receipt of the donation and they refund you the money. The whole idea of someone in need getting a bed at the cost of the company if it wasn't a fit for me was a huge value add since I'm a big-heart giver type.

Ultimately I enjoyed the mattress and kept it. But I think it's worth mentioning as another angle you could take. Maybe you donate 1-2% of your earnings toward replanting the amazon, or digging water wells for the Pigmy tribe in the Congo, or whatever. People love the idea of helping others in need while they enjoy a product and it's great marketing. Those points on the top of the fact you are actually making the world a better place.
 

FierceRacoon

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I imagine it could have different tastes, e.g. pumpkin, apple cinnamon, sweet orange. Also I imagine a 12-pack for $10 as opposed to a single shot because if somebody wants to take a trip to the store to buy just one item, it seems that they can also just get a coffee or any other option. Then if it's a 12-pack, the different tastes come in naturally as it can be an assortment, with gift packaging etc.

It may also be fun to have a decaf version, if only for somebody who is not a coffee-holic to fit in with friends. Or a "green tea" version.

Also, the super-cheap people could use "refillable" shots. That is, a larger container has a larger amount of coffee, but there is a convenient way to take just a small amount with you.

Environmentally, I hate the idea of producing little piece of glass or plastic for single use, given where it is going with climate change and all the recent heat waves... I think no amount of donations will offset that, but a refillable option can be more sustainable.
 

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