41 min

From Startup to Starbucks: How Chris Hunter Navigated The Crash of Four Loko and Landed On Top Raw and Real Entrepreneurship

    • Entrepreneurship

Ever wondered how a kid selling coloring books door-to-door could end up co-founding one of the hottest plant-based protein drink brands? In this Raw and Real Entrepreneurship episode, Susan Sly sits down with Chris Hunter, the unstoppable force behind KOIA. From hustling coloring book pictures in Youngstown, Ohio, to navigating the chaos of Four Loko, to breaking into major retailers like Starbucks with KOIA, Chris's journey is nothing short of extraordinary.

Chris opens up about his early entrepreneurial sparks, the financial hurdles he faced, and the resilience it took to turn his side hustles into full-blown successes. We dive deep into his innovative approach to parenting, raising kids who are already budding entrepreneurs, and the critical role of mentorship and sustainable business practices in his journey.

But it's not all smooth sailing. Chris shares his raw and real experiences of dealing with regulatory crackdowns, managing towering debts, and the therapeutic process of writing his book. This episode is packed with insights on authenticity, perseverance, and learning from every misstep.

Whether you're an established entrepreneur or just dipping your toes into the business world, Chris Hunter's story is a powerful reminder that with grit, hustle, and a bit of chaos management, you can turn your wildest dreams into reality. Tune in for a dose of real-talk entrepreneurship that's as inspiring as it is enlightening.

About Chris: Chris Hunter is a powerhouse in the beverage industry, known for his innovative and entrepreneurial spirit. He's the mastermind behind several hit beverage brands, including Four Loko, Koia, and Not Your Father's Root Beer. As the co-founder of Koia, Chris has driven the company to $100M in annual sales, securing spots in Whole Foods, Sprouts, 7-Eleven, and Starbucks. His memoir, Blackout Punch, reveals the gripping story of his journey and the lessons he's learned along the way.

Connect with Chris:
Website https://drinkkoia.com
LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/christopher-hunter-890a2315/
LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/company/koia/

About Susan: Susan Sly is the maven behind Raw and Real Entrepreneurship. An award-winning AI entrepreneur and MIT Sloan alumna, Susan has carved out a niche at the forefront of the AI revolution, earning accolades as a top AI innovator in 2023 and a key figure in real-time AI advancements for 2024. With a storied career that blends rigorous academic insight with astute market strategies, Susan has emerged as a formidable founder, a discerning angel investor, sought after speaker, and a venerated voice in the business world. Her insights have graced platforms from CNN to CNBC and been quoted in leading publications like Forbes and MarketWatch. At the helm of the Raw and Real Entrepreneurship podcast, Susan delivers unvarnished wisdom and strategies, empowering aspiring entrepreneurs and seasoned business veterans alike to navigate the challenges of the entrepreneurial landscape with confidence. Dive deep into the essence of success with Susan Sly, and redefine your entrepreneurial journey.

Connect With Susan
X @Susanslylive
LinkedIn @susansly
Website https://susansly.com/
Website https://thepause.ai/
Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Ever wondered how a kid selling coloring books door-to-door could end up co-founding one of the hottest plant-based protein drink brands? In this Raw and Real Entrepreneurship episode, Susan Sly sits down with Chris Hunter, the unstoppable force behind KOIA. From hustling coloring book pictures in Youngstown, Ohio, to navigating the chaos of Four Loko, to breaking into major retailers like Starbucks with KOIA, Chris's journey is nothing short of extraordinary.

Chris opens up about his early entrepreneurial sparks, the financial hurdles he faced, and the resilience it took to turn his side hustles into full-blown successes. We dive deep into his innovative approach to parenting, raising kids who are already budding entrepreneurs, and the critical role of mentorship and sustainable business practices in his journey.

But it's not all smooth sailing. Chris shares his raw and real experiences of dealing with regulatory crackdowns, managing towering debts, and the therapeutic process of writing his book. This episode is packed with insights on authenticity, perseverance, and learning from every misstep.

Whether you're an established entrepreneur or just dipping your toes into the business world, Chris Hunter's story is a powerful reminder that with grit, hustle, and a bit of chaos management, you can turn your wildest dreams into reality. Tune in for a dose of real-talk entrepreneurship that's as inspiring as it is enlightening.

About Chris: Chris Hunter is a powerhouse in the beverage industry, known for his innovative and entrepreneurial spirit. He's the mastermind behind several hit beverage brands, including Four Loko, Koia, and Not Your Father's Root Beer. As the co-founder of Koia, Chris has driven the company to $100M in annual sales, securing spots in Whole Foods, Sprouts, 7-Eleven, and Starbucks. His memoir, Blackout Punch, reveals the gripping story of his journey and the lessons he's learned along the way.

Connect with Chris:
Website https://drinkkoia.com
LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/christopher-hunter-890a2315/
LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/company/koia/

About Susan: Susan Sly is the maven behind Raw and Real Entrepreneurship. An award-winning AI entrepreneur and MIT Sloan alumna, Susan has carved out a niche at the forefront of the AI revolution, earning accolades as a top AI innovator in 2023 and a key figure in real-time AI advancements for 2024. With a storied career that blends rigorous academic insight with astute market strategies, Susan has emerged as a formidable founder, a discerning angel investor, sought after speaker, and a venerated voice in the business world. Her insights have graced platforms from CNN to CNBC and been quoted in leading publications like Forbes and MarketWatch. At the helm of the Raw and Real Entrepreneurship podcast, Susan delivers unvarnished wisdom and strategies, empowering aspiring entrepreneurs and seasoned business veterans alike to navigate the challenges of the entrepreneurial landscape with confidence. Dive deep into the essence of success with Susan Sly, and redefine your entrepreneurial journey.

Connect With Susan
X @Susanslylive
LinkedIn @susansly
Website https://susansly.com/
Website https://thepause.ai/
Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

41 min