For the last decade I have been partnering with visionary leaders who have a desire to accelerate their business and push their personal growth to new heights. As an independent consultant for the last two years about 30% of my work is with early stage companies who are taking their understanding of the market and trends and are either solving a meaningful problem or fulfilling a new or growing desire. These leaders are particularly compelling to me when they are fully committed to themselves, have a large appetite to learn and have a large vision for themselves and the customer they serve.
There are three categories of businesses you can create today: service, physical goods, or information products. Many of these leaders tend to focus on service and information. However, when I met with Sky Gilbar and David Silverander, co-founders of Hitch, I was excited to speak with a team tapping into their superpowers and the physical goods category in the food and beverage carry space!
Sky and David’s company has a profound mission to make life easier for everyone who carries food and drink on the go. Hitch is a sustainable brand offering cleverly designed reusable storage to carry food and drink on the go. Their first product is the Hitch Courier, the world’s first water bottle that has a reusable, leak-proof coffee cup hidden inside.
The market for food and drink carry is large and growing. Transparency Market Research estimates that the reusable water bottle market is expected to rise from a $7B valuation to a $10B valuation by 2024. The everyday segment is expected to be the most lucrative segment of the space. When you go beyond water bottles, the data is scattered. It’s likely that the total resuables market will be around $22B by 2022.
But how we carry reusables is at odds with the current trends and day to day reality. A dense McKinsey report unpacked by Fast Company presents a $900B packaging industry that is growing and growing. The actual logistics of carrying raises the question: How? The reality is there is only so much space when you’re carrying a water bottle and then asked to carry a coffee cup.
There’s a growing trend of people asking if there’s a better way to carry their food and drink. A recent internal Hitch survey found that 80% of people who carry a reusable water bottle won’t carry a reusable cup because it’s too hard to carry. So when you ask someone to carry a water bottle they may carry it, but when you ask them to carry that + another reusable you run into a carry problem, a human problem: too many reusables.
For coffee and water consumers the best experience would be to have a carry product that would allow for both. For people who already carry water bottles, the bottle could carry the reusable coffee cup for you. Think of a premium full-size water bottle with a removable barista-approved coffee cup hidden inside. The water bottle and cup are both double walled, stainless steel, and the cup is coffee shop ready, meaning it’s full-sized and includes a leak-proof lid.
For companies, Hitch presents a new business opportunity. There are many companies looking to freshen up their brand image with digital transformation, sustainability and diversity/equality initiatives often leading the way. Others have connected closely with the World Economic Forum’s Shaping the Future of Consumption platform. With Hitch they can:
- provide means to cut costs for themselves while showing benefits for their employees and their communities.
- meet their employees through personalized customization.
- Build brand loyalty
- Improve the carry experience for their employees through superior design
Hitch is about to drive a movement where millions of people will think consciously about what happens when they use an object, like a paper cup, for just 10 minutes before it goes off to a landfill. There is a growing awareness that paper cups cannot be recycled with cities and coffee shops introducing surcharges or banning them from their coffee shops voluntarily.
Sky and David have the right background to tackle this market. Sky had led product design and storytelling for multiple startup companies, he co-founded Snapwire, a platform connecting mobile photographers and brands. He’s brought his talents as a consultant to brands like Google and Coca-Cola on brand, sustainability, product, and experience design. David’s wheelhouse is sales, operations and finance having most recently been the COO of an athletic apparel manufacturer. Both share an appreciation for the value of a deeply considered brand with a meaningful vision.
Sky and David have assembled an impressive team that has the ideal skill set to help them bring an excellent and innovative product to market. With the support of an experienced mechanical engineer and an award-winning product designer, they undertook a deliberate and purposeful design process that has resulted in a truly impressive marriage of aesthetics and functionality.
Sky and I were introduced in early 2019, got to know one another and spent most of our initial conversations on how to leverage what an individual is best at. When Sky reached back out in the summer I was excited to learn that he had partnered with David and they had launched a project with a large vision leveraging their individual strengths. A tough call to make for many entrepreneurs is burning the boats and taking the island. They both made that call.
Today I am happy to announce that Hitch and Vik Duggal are partnering. I’m excited to join the team as an advisor and help launch the first product.