HOTSHOT, coffee and chocolate beverages that are served hot in can and heated using a HOTBOX custom storage unit, entered the Shark Tank on October 30. Heavy interviewed founder Danny Grossfeld about his New York-based company. He told us that they just became fully funded, so are now in the production stages. Customers can pre-order on their website and the beverages will be shipped out in January. In that month, they also plan to launch in convenience stores and movie theaters.
As far as how they landed an appearance on Shark Tank, Grossfeld explained that one of the show’s producers read an article the Los Angeles Times did on the company, and the rest is history.
Here is what else he told us about…
How the Idea Came About
The idea for HOTSHOT came about on a business trip to japan where I discovered Hot Canned Coffee. I was roaming the streets of Tokyo one morning desperate for a cup of coffee, but I couldn’t find a single store selling fresh brewed coffee. I noticed many locals were going to these refrigerators and grabbing cans of coffee. I decided I would just drink an iced coffee instead, so I reached into the fridge and grabbed a can, but to my surprise all of the cans were hot. I was confused to say the least; at first I thought the refrigerator was broken. I soon realized this is a very popular beverage category in japan called Hot Canned Coffee. Japan is one of a few countries in the world that sell Hot Ready-to-Drink beverages; it is a $14 billion industry. Now I’m bringing it the U.S.
Kickstarter is great because you have a ready-made audience of customers once you launch. The challenge for HOTSHOT with Kickstater was that the potential investors didn’t really understand the concept of Hot canned drinks unless they could see it or experience it themselves. That was a fairly large barrier, but then, having a Kickstarter campaign and the efforts to promote it put me on Shark Tank’s radar, which led to my appearance.
Pros & Cons to Running a Business in New York
I hate the traffic and everything is insanely expensive, but I couldn’t imagine living or operating a business anywhere else. The diversity of the people is what I find most valuable. The talent pool is great and because of New York’s diversity it’s a great testing ground for any business. I couldn’t see HOTSHOT in a place like Maine, they are a little more patient. HOTSHOTTers are used to getting what they want when they want it. Sounds like New York to me!
How He Formed the Team
I’ve met many people in the beverage and marketing industry over the years of creating HOTSHOT. Right now I have small dedicated team that has supported me through the challenges of getting HOTSHOT launched. My team truly believes in me and the product. Plus, they happen to really enjoy the product and consume it multiple times throughout the day.