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Founding O2 Hydration, Lessons Learned, and the Myth of Big Soda and Sports Drinks
Dave Colina is the founder and CEO of O2 Hydration, an Inc. 5000 beverage brand and the Official Sports Drink of The CrossFit Games. A former corporate strategist, Dave cut his entrepreneurial teeth while helping open a non-profit charter high school in Columbus, OH. He then left the office life to coach CrossFit and create a healthier hydration drink – eventually launching O2 from the trunk of Ohio’s hardest-working Prius in 2014. Dave is a graduate of The Ohio State University, a certified CrossFit coach, Krav Maga black belt, and the marketing mind behind 2020’s Best Beverage Marketing Campaign of the Year. He lives in Boulder, CO, and when he’s not teaching business classes part-time at CU Boulder he’s out riding his Harley and howling at the moon.
We get into his journey as an entrepreneur, lessons learned, and the myth of big soda and sports drinks.
For more info about Dave and O2, check out their website, follow them on Instagram, and definitely try O2.
Entrepreneurs, Books, and Quotes mentioned in the episode:
06:15 Dave is joining us from Boulder, CO where Juliet grew up
06:40 In addition to being the founder and CEO of O2, Dave is teaching a class at Boulder
07:00 O2 was launched out of the back of a car, much like Mike Sinyard of Specialized
07:50 While working in finance, Dave founded a charter school in Columbus, and was fueling this around the clock work with unhealthy energy drinks
09:30 The best product doesn’t always win in the marketplace, it often comes down to marketing
11:40 Dave partnered with physician Dr. Daniel Kim to figure out a formulation and then had to make the samples themselves
14:15 O2 comes in aluminum cans, which is rather revolutionary in the sports drink industry
14:55 O2 is carbon neutral
15:43 Energy drinks vs sports drinks
16:08 Fundamentally, the core of O2 is hydration
16:48 Why is the standard sports drink a high sugar beverage in a plastic bottle?
20:20 Sometimes athletes don’t have a lot of options and need to take on sponsorships – Juliet and Kelly were once sponsored by Camel cigarettes
24:37 Getting O2 into CrossFit
28:45 The successes and challenges of moving into traditional retail; Kroeger
31:11 Nothing can really prepare you to be an entrepreneur
32:11 The importance of packaging, design, and marketing
33:08 “Entrepreneurship is a personal growth [accelerator]” – James Clear
33:40 Juliet got to review some of the new O2 packaging designs; Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire
36:00 O2’s first venture backing fell through the week the money was supposed to hit the bank
40:40 Starting a business while keeping a day job
42:45 Teaching a business class as CU Boulder
46:48 Entrepreneurship as a viable alternative to working for a company; Georgia’s Bake Shop
50:50 Kelly’s O2 Slushie: Caffeine-free O2 lime blended with ice
51:30 You can have O2 delivered right to your door
51:57 Dave/O2 Socials
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