On Thursday evening, students, faculty and members of the Hamilton community gathered in Love Auditorium to welcome Jimmy DeCicco ’15 back to Colgate. DeCicco, a former member of the Colgate Football team, is the CEO of Sunniva Super Coffee, a healthier, protein-packed alternative to traditional coffee. The young entrepreneur delivered an animated account of his startup journey, emphasizing the importance of confidence, hard work and optimism.
After testing the waters in commercial real estate, DeCicco joined forces with his younger brothers, Jake and Jordan DeCicco, to launch Super Coffee. The idea for Super Coffee was born of sheer necessity as a solution to a predicament that most college students know all too well: dozing off in class. Jordan, the youngest DeCicco, began blending coffee, protein powder and coconut fat into the first batches of Super Coffee in his college dorm room. From just three simple ingredients, a more convenient, ‘better-for-you’ alternative to coffee emerged.
With the help of friends and family, the brothers raised $100,000 to get started. During the first year, the trio hand-brewed, hand-packaged and hand-delivered each and every bottle of Super Coffee. The startup’s first milestone came when their local Whole Foods stocked 400 bottles of Super Coffee; they sold out in just 4 hours.
Super Coffee can now be found on the shelves of grocery and convenience stores across the northeast and at universities across the nation. The DeCicco brothers even had the opportunity to present Super Coffee to the high-power investors on ABC’s Shark Tank.
The publicity garnered by their upcoming Shark Tank appearance helped the brothers raise $2 million in under two weeks, and Super Coffee is projected to experience immense growth in the next couple of years. DeCicco explained that constant iteration and innovation lies ahead for Super Coffee. In the near future, the brand plans to introduce creamers and plant-based Super Coffee beverages.
DeCicco attributes the startup’s growing success to confidence and relentless hard work.
Drawing upon sports analogies, DeCicco explained that success depends on going the extra mile, finishing an extra rep in the weight room, or running one more 100-meter sprint. He approached Super Coffee like he would any athletic feat – with confidence and the belief that he could succeed.
“You have all of the opportunities in the world right now…take advantage of them,” DeCicco said to the audience.
He urged students to leverage the opportunities provided by Colgate’s vast alumni network. Through extensive networking, DeCicco has fostered many connections, building valuable relationships with a wide range of Colgate alumni.
“It’s amazing how powerful the [Colgate] network is,” DeCicco expressed.
A large part of the support for Super Coffee has come from generous Colgate alumni. He encouraged students to make connections whenever possible, as they will become increasingly important – especially if you plan on building a business from the ground up.
DeCicco left the audience with his inspiring mantra, “work to make a life, not a living.”
The presentation was well-received by Senior Sarah Kelly who is interested in marketing and startups.
“It is encouraging to know that Jimmy pursued his passions despite the risks associated and succeeded,” Kelly said.
Matthew Glick, a junior on the men’s soccer team, shared this sentiment.
“As a student-athlete, it is super inspiring to know that Jimmy was able to go out into the world and achieve success,” Glick said.
The DeCicco brothers appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank on Sunday, February 11. Though they didn’t make a deal, the publicity from the episode has led to increased sales.
Contact Amelia Fogg at [email protected]
Sunniva Super Coffee Passes the Taste Test
It’s no secret that Sunniva Super Coffee is the perfect choice for a good workout or a long day. With its new, protein-packed technology, it makes for a great solution for your caffeine addiction. Sunniva Super Coffee contains no GMOs, gluten free, lactose free and soy free. All of the products contain 10g of protein for all you gym rats out there.
In order of healthiness:
1. Smooth Mocha
This flavor tops the charts with 80 calories and 0g sugar. You can’t really taste the coffee in this drink but there is a strong chocolate flavor and a slight protein aftertaste. This drink would be great if you’re looking for a quick kick of energy and protein but don’t like the taste of coffee that much.
2. Creamy Black
At 90 calories and 0g sugar, creamy black is somewhat watery compared to the other flavors. The coffee is bitter and the drink could probably use some form of sweetener. If you prefer black coffee with no sugar this flavor may be a good starting point.
3. Vanilla Bean
With 6g of sugar, vanilla bean has the classic sweet coffee drink flavor. The vanilla comes through strongly and there is a slightly bitter aftertaste that signals the coffee in the drink. A slight maple flavor also comes through but is overwhelmed by the vanilla.
4. Maple Hazelnut
Coming in at 120 calories and 7g of sugar, maple hazelnut has the fullest flavor of the 4. The maple and hazelnuts are well-balanced and make the drink taste completely different from the other three options. The coffee flavor isn’t very evident so this drink would be good for those with a sweet tooth.
Contact Jonathan Santiago at [email protected]