The buzz about 313 Energy has been growing since we first profiled them here on Detroit Unspun in November. As young entrepreneurs Matthew Tukel and Sawyer Altman set their sights on finishing high school this spring, their popular energy drink has taken off and new opportunities on the horizon mean the future looks very bright for these budding beverage kingpins.
Starting a business is tough enough, let alone if you are doing it while still in high school. But the two are laser focused on both and grateful Detroit Venture Partners’ Josh Linkner discovered them while they were working on a class project at Frankel Jewish Academy in Birmingham.
One of the first questions many people ask them is, “Where can I buy 313 Energy?”
Part of the redesign and re-launch is a section on the website where fans can find one of the 24 retailers already carrying 313 Energy and follow as it grows locally and beyond. Hardcore fans can also order the drink through the site, along with t-shirts, hats, gift baskets and other items.
The guys have done a lot of the distribution and haggling with retailers and are now catching the eye of some very high-profile retailers and potential investors. They stopped short of saying who, but say they are confident 2013 is going to be an amazing year for the brand.
Where they are today is a long way from their first retail distributor, Pogo apparel shop in Birmingham. With bigger chain store discussions and regional distribution on the horizon, they are optimistic their original plan of covering southeastern Michigan will happen sooner rather than later.
“The best part of the plan, in many ways, is not knowing what it will morph into,” says Altman. “We’ve done all of this work and people are really loving the new, healthier formula and what we are doing overall.”
As second semester seniors in high school, I asked what will become of 313 Energy when they both go off to college. “We are building a solid brand and putting a team in place that will be able to have this keep going regardless and that’s exciting,” said Tukel.
Building on their viral popularity, Matthew and Sawyer are also experimenting with a customer rewards program through their site where people can earn points for completing tasks and redeem those points for merchandise.
As they continue to grow, they haven’t lost site of their commitment to give back. 313 Energy actively donates 11 cents from every can sold back to a charity in the city of Detroit – a practice that has continued since they started.
Still running the business out of the Detroit entrepreneurial hub of the M@dison Building, they say they like the collaboration and support that is fostered there. “We love this place and we’re glad Josh Linkner and the Detroit Venture Partners group let us take up space in such a great environment,” says Altman.
The formula and look of the can have changed a bit, but at the heart of 313 Energy is two young men riding a wave of popularity and giving metro Detroit what it needs … more energy!