Amid the tea, soda, Red Bull and water at any of the POD locations on campus, there are, of course, several options for coffee — but only one of those options for cold brew coffee is the product of a startup that’s developed right here at Trinity. That company, and its cold-brew coffee currently offered in two varieties, is called Quick Sip.
Sophomore Jacob Hurrell-Zitelman launched Quick Sip in March 2017. The idea started as a combined coffee shop and bar concept that Hurrell-Zitelman wanted to open on N. St. Mary’s Street. Hurrell-Zitelman had no savings and wasn’t 21, so his original plan didn’t work out.
However, during the time he spent trying to make it happen, Hurrell-Zitelman got to meet people in the coffee industry and learn more about specialty coffee.
“I learned that what makes a good coffee is what’s sweet and fruity and light, as opposed to super dark, like what Starbucks gives you. So that really got me passionate about it, and helped turn it into what Quick Sip is today, which is a bottled specialty cold-brew company,” Hurrell-Zitelman said.
Quick Sip is just one of the 11 startups that will be competing in the seed round of the Louis H. Stumberg Venture Plan Competition on March 27. This competition gives student startups the opportunity to pitch their company to real investors and get the capital they need in order to expand their businesses.
The seed round of the competition awards five winning companies a $5,000 seed prize and participation in a Summer Accelerator program. This program, which takes place at Trinity and is led by the entrepreneurship department, provides the guidance and resources to help get the winning teams on their feet as companies.
In the fall, the winners of the seed round will compete against each other in the final round of the competition for the $25,000 grand prize.
“[The Summer Accelerator program] is an excellent opportunity if you’re coming to the competition with an idea that you need some guidance and direction on. That’s the purpose of the Summer Accelerator — to build it out fully for you and accelerate you in the process of starting a business for real,” said Carmen Aramanda, program coordinator for the entrepreneurship department.
Another one of the competitors, a team called PATCH, started very differently than Quick Sip. First-years Gavin Buchanan and Andrew Aertker founded the startup in Trinity’s entrepreneurship course last semester. Their idea is for a new type of pill bottle that tracks when the medication is dispensed and sends that data to doctors and, eventually, health insurance providers.
The idea was born out of concerns centering around the opioid crisis, explained Buchanan.
“My dad works for the American Heart Association — he was a practicing doctor for much of his career — and we were talking one night about some articles that had just come out that addressed how big the opioid crisis was. I brought up the idea of, well, maybe we just need a way of better keeping track of when people take their pills, how they take their pills — making sure they don’t overdose — and so out of that idea was, ‘Well why don’t we just make a better pill bottle?’ ” Buchanan said.
The pair didn’t plan on participating in the Stumberg Competition when they were starting out, but they are looking forward to the seed round as it approaches.
“We’re kind of excited. It’ll be fun to pitch in front of a group of investors, for sure — people that are actually interested in some of our concepts,” Aertker said.
A third competitor, called FindSA, was founded by seniors Matthew Munroe and Colby Doyal in response to a challenge that the city of San Antonio brought to Trinity. The pair told the Trinitonian that their project is not yet public information, but in essence, its goal is to make San Antonio a better place.
The solution that Munroe and Doyal came up with is an app that promotes a healthy lifestyle by incentivizing exercise, while also creating an accurate map of the city’s walking trails.
Munroe and Doyal want to emphasize that the Stumberg Competition isn’t only for people who already have fully formed businesses.
“We don’t have a company, we just have a logo and a concept,” Munroe said.
These three and seven other teams will compete in the CSI Innovation Cube on March 27 from 3:30–8:30 p.m. Aramanda hopes that students will come and see the seed round of the competition and maybe even get inspired enough to start their own company.
Those interested can RSVP and view the full list of teams, found here.