Industry: Food and Beverage
Founding Student Names: Daniel Schindler, MBA ’19
Brief Description of Solution: 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. Now, you don’t have to think twice about hydration. Buoy makes every kind of drink more hydrating without changing taste or calorie and sugar count. It’s like a hydration amplifier for your drink – but instead of an ‘on’ switch, all you have to do is squeeze. Oh, and we also threw some vitamins and antioxidants in there. Same drink, same taste, just better.
Funding Dollars: $100,000
What led you to launch this venture? A few years ago, I was ready for a new challenge outside my corporate job—the challenge to create something new. I saw my brother building his own startup and felt like I could do the same. One night over drinks, I decided the time was right to identify a need I could fill. As it happens, I was intrigued that so many people allow themselves to become dehydrated when they drink. I knew there had to be a solution. Our first idea, now patented, was a liquor spout that could deliver electrolytes directly as a drink is poured. We created Buoy because no hydration concentrates existed that could be added to a drink without compromising the flavor. We also broadened the market to include day-to-day hydration rather than just alcohol.
On our path from idea to reality, we did almost everything wrong—from creating terrible business models to not understanding the feedback we received. But we always had and continue to hold the determination to push forward, no matter what, fueled by a dream of total freedom. That is the only thing that anyone really needs to be successful.
What has been your biggest accomplishment so far with this venture? Discovering a valuable B2B side of the business and partnering with WellBeing Brewing Company to create the first-ever “sports drink beer” called Victory. We have sold them over 500,000 servings of Buoy so far.
How has your MBA program helped you further this startup venture? My experience at Olin helped me gain experience in many different fields, all of which I deal with as the CEO of Buoy. Even more beneficial than that were the startup classes taught by Cliff Holekamp and the mentorship he provided, as well as a course at Olin called Defining Moments, in which CEOs come into class and talk about their journeys.
What founder or entrepreneur inspired you to start your own entrepreneurial journey? How did he or she prove motivational to you? My brother, Jordan Schindler. I watched him grow an idea into an extremely valuable company with ownership of the patent. Not only was I motivated by watching him succeed, but he helped guide me on my path to creating my own company.
Which MBA class has been most valuable in building your startup and what was the biggest lesson you gained from it? Both intro to entrepreneurship and Defining Moments. The biggest lesson I learned was to empower others that I work with to be leaders rather than telling them what to do.
What is your long-term goal with your startup? We want Buoy to be a household name and to be a leader in the hydration space. At some point, we would consider an acquisition if the opportunity is right.