Day One of BevNET Live Challenged Startups To Find Point of Differentiation

However Wahlberg found a way to bridge the two different cogs of his life: business and entertainment. He said he demanded that AquaHydrate sit on every desk in the office of Ari Gold, one of the main characters of Entourage, a popular HBO show that Wahlberg produced. Bottles of AquaHydrate scattered the sets of the 2012 comedy Ted.

“Everything that I do, it’s a packaged deal,” he said.

Richard Tait and Serge Freund

Shifting from the perspective of a star shareholder to that of company founders, Klineman invited to the stage Richard Tait, cofounder of the sports energy drink Golazo, Serge Freund, cofounder of the gourmet iced coffee maker RealBeanz and Camille Reith, cofounder of the chia-based smoothie company ChiaVie. Joining Klineman in a question-and-answer session, Tate, Freund and Reith all stressed the importance of brand management.

“Everybody is being lied to in today’s world,” Tait said. “You have to be authentic.”

Tait also explained that authenticity often entails risk. Some investors told him that his idea had a limited target audience and belonged in convenience stores with other energy drinks. On the contrary, Tait sees his brand as the leading energy beverage in Whole Foods.

“People thought I was crazy to put a soccer ball on the bottle,” he said.

Reith also took a risk by branding her products around chia, a nutrient-heavy seed. While thriving brands like Mamma Chia have helped lure investors, Reith admitted that ChiaVie is still identifying its target audience.

“With chia getting so popular right now, we want to make sure we stay relevant,” she said.

Also seeking relevance, Freund fully believes that once consumers continue to educate themselves, RealBeanz can prosper. Freund said he is thankful for Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who introduced iced coffee to the country. Now that consumers are holding a greater desire for lighter and healthier options, he believes that RealBeanz has properly timed its product.

“We believe that in two years from now, we’ll be a household name in the United States,” Freund said.