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Industry insider Vipe Desai has launched a new company that offers a different twist for the action sports market and beyond.
Vipe, well known for his philanthropy work in the industry, founded youth culture consultancy Propaganda Headquarters, and also held marketing positions at Monster Energy and TransWorld.
Here, he tells us about his startup.
True story! I started a beverage company, and it’s called HDX Hydration Mix. It’s based on offering a healthy beverage experience through powder. We use natural ingredients to deliver electrolytes and other beneficial minerals for those that are on the go and want to add something to their water.
I’ve worked with a few beverage brands, so I understand the business. Over the last few years, I got to experience the business internally at Monster Energy and became much more interested in the category as a whole.
I also had some health problems a few years back and was eventually diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. As I became more familiar with the disease, I came to understand the magnitude of this problem as a nationwide epidemic. I learned that major contributors to diabetes are our choices in what we eat and drink, especially beverages overloaded with sugar.
My involvement as a Surfrider Foundation Board Member also brought to my attention the growing problem of single-use plastic water bottles. Some experts put the number at 2.5 million plastic water bottles discarded every hour just here in the U.S. Now take the amount of other beverages like sodas, sports drinks and vitamin enhanced products that are also packaged in plastic bottles and that 2.5 million number pales in comparison.
I discovered that a powdered beverage product would be a great solution in providing a healthy and environmentally friendlier beverage choice that is low in sugar, suitable for diabetics, has a reduced carbon footprint from transportation due to a lighter packaged good (as opposed to shipping and refrigeration of liquid beverages), and when used with a reusable water bottle, will lead to a shift in society and reduce the overall environmental impact.
I funded the groundwork, which included trademarks, product development, design, initial inventory, etc. - pretty much getting HDX in proof of concept stage and, more importantly, to the starting line. I knew I would need additional funding and turned to family and friends to raise seed capital. I’m excited to say that we reached our fundraising goal in less than 45 days with the support of some amazing people.
No official employees at this time, but we have 4-6 independent contractors that will move into full-time positions as sales ramp up. As an early stage business, keeping our burn rate low and inline is critical to our longevity. We want to be smart, nimble and fiscally disciplined with every dollar we spend.
Our products have already started getting placed. We launched with our first beverage product. It’s part of our Performance category that provides a proprietary blend of electrolytes, amino acids and minerals. It’s perfect for people looking for something that will hydrate them throughout the day and great for athletes that need extra nutrients. Our other product is our stainless steel reusable water bottle.
We’re in a few retail stores already such as Surf Concepts, Spyder Surfboards, Seed Peoples Market, Surfride (Solana Beach and Oceanside), Swell.com, StillWater Café and Wahoo’s Fish Taco. We’re adding more stores regularly.
An opportunity I’m most excited about is with Second Reef in Laguna Beach. We’re currently working with Billabong to install a free public filtered water system. The system will promote the importance of clean water, the use of reusable water bottles and HDX Hydration Mix. It’s a phenomenal installation and brings to light the single use plastic issue and that a solution is easy with a reusable water bottle and HDX. It will be operational by April 22 – Earth Day.
See Page 2 for more about HDX