Team Name: SurfStraw
Concept: SurfStraw is the first water bottle for surfing wetsuits.
Challenge: I’m a lifelong surfer, and I can tell you from personal experience that dehydration is a huge problem for surfers everywhere. Surfing is a sport where you paddle several miles, and sweat for hours, without ever taking a drink of water. Based on hundreds of customer interviews with surfers and industry experts, we found that surfers view the task of paddling into shore to hydrate to be inconvenient and exhausting.
Solution: My Co-Founder and I invented the SurfStraw – a collapsible soft flask bottle with an extended straw that fits into all surfing wetsuits. Hundreds of customers have shared with us that the lightweight, ergonomic design allows them to finally hydrate while surfing, without adding any extra weight or discomfort. SurfStraw started with a Kickstarter campaign in July 2020, and raised $13,000. Today we’re in both e-commerce and some of the top surf shops on both the east and west coasts. In the last 1.5 years, SurfStraw has generated over $50,000 in revenues in 14 different countries.
Market: The market potential is vast. There are 20M surfers globally who wear wetsuits who have the potential to become SurfStraw customers. We’ve also expanded to other sports, launching the SportStraw, which is a similar flexible, light bottle ideal for skiing, snowboarding, hiking, and camping. The ski and snowboard market alone consist of over 70M participants. There are significant tailwinds in the outdoor activity and sporting industry as a result of COVID. People have been flocking to activities like surfing, skiing, snowboarding, and hiking in the past year and a half of COVID, and these trends are expected to persist.
Competition: SurfStraws are unique compared to other hydration solutions for surfers in that the bottle is lightweight, ergonomic, and versatile. Dolfinpack is similar to a Camelbak – essentially an external backpack. But surfers don’t want a heavy, cumbersome weight on their backs while they’re paddling. The Epic Tide Wetsuit uses an integrated bladder system within the suit, however this forces the surfer to buy an EpicTide wetsuit rather than using the surfer’s preferred brand. These differentiators, combined with the fact that SurfStraw has the lowest price point, makes SurfStraw the preferred surfer’s hydration solution.
Value Creation: We leverage an international manufacturer to achieve scalable margins of 54% after considering COGS, outbound shipping, and customer acquisition costs. We worked closely with our manufacturer to carefully select our materials – we produce SurfStraws and SportStraws with thermoplastic polyurethane, which prevents plastics from shedding into oceans and waterways. We also donate $1 to Plasticbank for every bottle sold to demonstrate our commitment to sustainability which has resulted in the removal of over 100K bottles of plastic from the world’s oceans.
Team: We aren’t just any typical surf bums. Han and I met at EY, where we worked as CPA’s in the M&A advisory group – closing deals for PE firms and corporations. Han graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2015 with a B.A. in Economics and Environmental Studies, and now works as a finance manager at Cypress Creek, a renewable energy company. I (Jesse) graduated cum laude from Univ. of San Diego in 2016 with bachelors degrees in accounting and finance, and recently left EY to pursue my MBA at Dartmouth at the Tuck School of Business.
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