Forbes All-Star Student Entrepreneurs
Kevin Gelfand and Martin Reiman
As he was leaving the San Diego State University gym one afternoon in July 2010 after his usual weight-training session, Kevin Gelfand realized he was dreading the warm, lumpy protein shake he was planning to drink. "It almost tasted like dirt," he recalls. He decided he would try to concoct a drink that added ingredients like fresh fruit and nonfat milk to the usual whey protein powder to find a blend that tasted good and still packed a protein punch. He turned to fellow gym rat and Sigma Chi fraternity brother Martin Reiman for help.The pair came up with more than 60 different blends and recruited 20 friends to do a taste test before settling on 15 final flavors, including Chocolate Frosty, made with chocolate protein powder, agave nectar, milk and ice, and Perfect Ten, with blueberries, bananas, peanut butter and vanilla protein powder. They raised $50,000 from family and friends to set up a Shake Smart kiosk on campus near the gym, calculating they needed to sell 60 drinks a day to break even.
Instead Shake Smart exploded. Immediately after opening they were selling an average of 120 shakes a day, and within six months they had 12 people on the payroll. Last August they reached an agreement with SDSU to allow freshmen to pay using their meal plan.
This spring Shake Smart opened its second location, in a San Diego mall outside a 24 Hour Fitness gym. The company plans to open a third location by December, and Gelfand projects 2012 revenues of $740,000.