We recently spoke with Steve Young, founder/assistant janitor, for craft beer start up SYNEK on his company’s growth.
Denver, CO. Originally founded in St. Louis
The Exception Interview
How would you describe your company and its product to someone who has never heard of it?
At our most basic level, we produce high quality craft beer and wine dispensers for the average consumer. Our SYNEK Beer Dispenser is essentially a mini kegerator that gives you access to 70,000+ beers on your countertop, and Somm by SYNEK (our upcoming Wine unit) is a wine dispenser that automatically chills and aerates high quality wine that we’ll ship direct to your door.
If you would like an overarching theme however, SYNEK was founded in order to make drinking craft beer and wine at home easier, better, and more fun.
How did you come up with the idea for your company? How did you validate the concept early on?
So, we decided to prove demand by taking our concept directly to the customers. We launched a Kickstarter with a goal of $250,000. By campaign’s end, we had nearly tripled that goal with over $650,000 raised. It was easy to then go back to all those same investors and prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that we had a product people wanted.
Simply put, a dispenser on a million countertops. Advanced answer: We will fully map the palates of the most enthusiastic beverage drinkers and transform how people engage their favorite products.
What broader trends are driving interest in the food tech sector?
Data, data, data. For the first time in our industry’s history, we are finally able to discover how, why, and when people are enjoying and consuming food and drink. That leads to a much more personalized experience in which food and drink producers can better supply consumers with more of what they want, when they want it, how they want it.
What excites you personally about working in food tech?
Well, it’s just flat out fun. I work in beer and wine, which is basically everyone’s dream job from their 21st birthday on. Because of that, it’s extremely easy to stay passionate, and focused on what our customers want. During my time as a Stock Market Analyst, my industry research consisted of spreadsheets and emails. Now however, if I need to better align myself with my ideal customers, all I need to do is saunter down to the closest bar and discuss booze with strangers.
Do you believe your city and state supports its food tech startups?
That is the very reason we moved SYNEK to Denver last January. Not only is the tech scene in general here phenomenal, but the craft brewing community has made the transition extraordinarily easy. Primed by the adventurous and popular breweries in the area, consumers and businesses alike are open and eager to take risks on new products within the food tech space.
What other companies or founders do you follow for inspiration or advice?
Cliche as it may sound at this point, I draw most of my inspiration from Elon Musk and his many ventures. He’s been so successful in my mine because every project he has undertaken is derived from one of his deep passions. He’s invested and driven to make his dreams into reality not purely for monetary gain, but because he believes the world will be made better by his success.
What words of wisdom would you like to share with the next generation of food tech CEOs?
Always keep quality and preservation at your core. No matter how flashy or interesting your tech is, you won’t get anywhere in food tech without a tasty final product.
Email editor [at] exceptionmag.com if you operate a food tech startup and would like to be profiled.