Seconds Labs: Michigan Business Challenge – Seigle Impact Track Finalist

Matt Baker, WMBA '22 Claire Bissa, WMBA '22 Austin Clowes, WMBA '22

Who are the team members?

Matt Baker, WMBA ’22
Claire Bissa, WMBA ’22
Austin Clowes, WMBA ’22

Tell us briefly about your business idea.

Seconds Labs is a direct consumer business that sells beverage mixes to health-conscious individuals. Our products are “nootropics” which improve cognitive performance and promote holistic brain health, and they leverage underappreciated hero ingredient currently going to waste: the fruit surrounding coffee beans, known as “cascara” in the coffee industry. 

What was the origin of this venture?

Austin Clowes first encountered the problem while working as a food waste expert at a top environmental think-tank. He was researching food supply chains in Mexico and was appalled at both the massive amount of waste from coffee farming and the unfair compensation of farmers.

What do you think will be the long-term impact of launching your venture?

We hope to transform the coffee industry for the better. We hope to normalize higher pay for farming communities and reduce the environmental impacts of coffee production. We hope to help consumers achieve more balance in their lives and to reclaim their focus.

How did you form your team?

Our team converged over common interests in Professor Jim Price’s “Entrepreneurship: New Venture Creation” course in the Weekend MBA Program. The team all had a strong desire to build a purpose-driven business focused around a triple bottom line.

What has been your biggest takeaway from the MBC experience (so far)?

The MBC experience has drilled home the importance of a refined story with a strong and specific value proposition. Know your exact message and say it directly.

What are your plans following MBC? How would prize money help your venture?

We plan to continue our product development and target a Q4 product launch. The prize money would help us develop key branding and marketing assets for our go-to-market.

What advice do you have for other student entrepreneurs?

Get your feet wet! Use the resources provided through your organization, and work with people you enjoy!