Student entrepreneurs create liquid-activated beverage lights

January 22nd, 2016 Comments Off on Student entrepreneurs create liquid-activated beverage lights

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By Zack Orsborn | via Daily Journal

When Kaylie Mitchell, CEO of Vibe and Mississippi State University senior, began working on a branding project for a graphic design course last year, she never expected the project to evolve into a business that creates a colorful social atmosphere.

For the project, Mitchell made up a company that produced glowing drinks. She wanted to go above and beyond, so she asked her now business partner, Hagan Walker, electrical engineering major at MSU, to create an apparatus to make actual glowing drinks for product shots.

“Slowly but surely, we came to this liquid-activated drink infuser created by Hagan,” Mitchell said.

Thus, Glo Drinks was born under Vibe LLC.

Mitchell and Walker met with Eric Hill, director of the Entrepreneurship Center at MSU.

“We had these poorly made prototypes that weren’t liquid-activated,” Mitchell said. “We had some fail in front of Eric. Our pride was hurt. We left that meeting, and Hagan was like, ‘I can’t let that go.’”

At first, the Glo Drinks apparatus consisted of using a pull string between a battery and an LED light that could be dropped in any kind of liquid.

“You pulled the string, it made contact with the battery and the light came on,” Walker said. “We failed at that in the beginning. I was thinking of different ways to make this automatically light up. What came to mind was an apparatus where the water or liquid you put the drink in acts as a switch.”

When the circuit detects water or liquid, the Glo Drinks technology recognizes the liquid, causing the light switch to stay on.

As the Glo Drinks apparatus sits in a glass of liquid, it cycles through nine different colors, going through the whole rainbow. The Glo Drink apparatus stays at the bottom of the drink so it won’t bump into any noses or lips. Once out of liquid, the Glo Drinks apparatus automatically turns off.

To take it one step forward and to separate themselves from competitors in the market, the partners combined the light component with a flavor component.

“As far as we’ve researched, there isn’t anything that combines the light component and the flavor component together for a drink,” Mitchell said. “We are currently patenting that design.”

With the help of the Entrepreneurship Center at MSU, Mitchell and Walker earned a fully funded seed round that enabled them to work full time on the company for a year. Two investors from Mississippi and one in New York expressed interest and funded a portion of the company. In April 2015, the partners won Entrepreneurship Week and joined the MSU incubator program.

Mitchell and Walker want to create a new atmosphere with an innovative product.

“We want to bring a light to people’s hands and make beverages an experience,” Mitchell said. “We want to make something you won’t forget.”

Currently, the partners are researching different markets for Glo Drinks. They’ve met with restaurants, bars and a musical artist on the West Coast interested in bringing the Glo Drinks on tour.

“We are working on presenting to MSU about the potential of a partnership with them with football games, basketball games, concerts or whatever they would deem fit,” Mitchell said.

The partners found that Glo Drinks could have potential in endless markets, including the medical field.

“It all comes back to the experience of it and the versatility of the product,” Mitchell said. “It doesn’t just have to be used in alcohol or a bar setting. It can be used in the medical field to get kids to take their medicine and enjoy that experience. Kids love them. They can’t get enough.”

Simply, they want to brighten someone’s day. To watch Glo Drinks in action, visit glodrinks.com/video.

Read the story from E-Week, where Kaylie won a $10,000 prize.

Read the story in The Clarion Ledger.

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