Ben King, Dan Johnsen and Charles Buddeke photo by Cheryl Boyd
Ben King, Dan Johnsen and Charles Buddeke photo by Cheryl Boyd

Today’s Open Coffee started as a moderator-less meeting, but when Daniel Johnsen and Charles Buddeke were asked to re-cap their experience at this past weekend’s Startup Weekend in Lexington, we quickly shifted our attention to their budding business.

Three-fifths of the winning team, Recovery Station, were from Louisville and at Open Coffee this morning: Johnsen, Buddeke and engineer Ben King. Recovery Station competed Sunday against seven teams to win the event that was produced by Lexington’s Awesome Inc.

Recovery Station is a smoothie/health drink vending solution. Buddeke drove to Cincinnati where he purchased a used cappuccino vending machine that King later modified to dispense powdered “recovery drink” mix blended with water.

Recovery drinks are those supplement-filled sports drinks that you’re supposed to consume after a difficult workout.

They were able to test this MVP at the Lexington YMCA. One test consumer said the beverage that the machine dispensed was “way better” than the drink mix he brought from home. The team didn’t tell him the machine was vending the exact same drink mix that he brought.

Open Coffee attendees spent the hour helping the founders of Recovery Station poke holes in their model, connecting them with leads and people who could offer guidance, and asking them the tough questions.

When we asked how we can help the Recovery Station team, Johnsen said, “Encourage us to keep pushing forward.”

The Startup Weekend website describes the seven teams that competed in Lexington:

1. Fantasy Bridg: Online MMO game based on contract bridge with a fantasy theme.

2. Cangri: We are combining the aspects of running with gaming entertainment. Let’s face it: running is boring, we’ll make it an adventure.

3. The Recovery Station: The Recovery Station provides convenient and customizable smoothies for pre and post workout nutritional needs.

4. Electronic Farmer’s Market: This team is creating a prototype electronic farmer’s market to directly link local producers with consumers.

5. Awesome Jerky: Beef jerky monthly subscription service. $20/mo delivered to your door. If you don’t like beef jerky we do healthy snack boxes too.

6. UniOrg: We made an app targeted to University students to help students get exposure to organizations, events, and activities on Campus. New and existing students can search for Organizations and gain easy access to event calendars and club details. This is a new, improved, easier way to search for events. Easy interface.

7. Disputed: An IOS application designed to end the age old debates (ex Soda vs Pop). While providing the users an opportunity to answer trending questions popular in society or submit questions they would like to see answered.

If you were anywhere near social media this weekend (and are tapped in to the Kentucky Startup scene), you probably assumed Awesome Jerky — a subscription jerky delivery service — was a clear-cut winner. After all, the team was helmed by Awesome Inc. founder Brian Raney, and you could watch on Twitter as the company’s sales went up and up until they finally topped $4,000.

But, it turns out that Raney was replicating (and besting) an experiment launched by AppSumo’s Noah Kagen, in which he challenged himself to launch a business and raise $1,000. His product was the exact same: subscription jerky. Even the price points were the same. But what he and his massive team accomplished — more than 250 sales — was from pure hustle.

Johnsen said, “The team was always closing.”

Buddeke and Johnsen said that Startup Weekend in Lexington was a “different experience” than the ones in Louisville. They praised the Awesome Inc. space and the organizers and said the all-important food was great. They said there were fewer interactions with mentors in Lexington, and the organizers were less “get out the door”-centered than Louisville’s organizers usually are.

Overall the event had 50 participants, 20 pitches, 10 companies formed, and seven survived.

Notes and Events:

Not too much doin’ this week… so have a great Thanksgiving!

  • Tonight, Nov. 25, is the first gathering of “Designer Brews” at 7 p.m. at Against the Grain brewery. The meeting is open to all digital, graphic and web designers.
  • Theoretically, Zack Pennington’s Startup Ambassadors Hike is on Wednesday at 4:45 p.m. at Dog Hill. But the weather could prevent this from happening. More information here.
  • #OpenBeer is canceled for Friday.
  • Check StartupLouisville’s events calendar for more.

As always, thank you to iHub for hosting and to Heine Brothers for providing the coffee. Open Coffee is always on Monday at 8 a.m. at iHub, 204 S. Floyd St. Next week’s moderator will be the trio from Recovery Station again.

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