Crisis Management - SHARING THE PROFITS
Entrepreneur|Startups Summer 2020
Crisis Management - SHARING THE PROFITS
The sports drink company O2 is thriving during the pandemic, thanks to a counterintuitive decision: It started giving money away.
JASON FEIFER

Dave Colina’s startup could have been severely hurt by the pandemic. His company makes the sports recovery drink O2, and prior to COVID-19, half of its business came from gyms. But once lockdowns began, gyms were closed and athletes were stuck at home. Colina worried for his future but decided to take a gamble: He found unique ways to financially support those closed gyms, even as he ran tight on cash. “We felt that as long as we did the right thing to help our gym owners, then chances were it would come back to us in the end,” he says. He was right. His direct-to-consumer sales are tracking to be 10 times higher than last year’s, and his entire business is on pace to grow five times. How? He explains.

Gyms are a big part of your business, but how could you help them?

We’re carried in independently owned gyms— CrossFit, gyms, yoga studios, places that aren’t backed by tons of cash. When they shut down, we looked at creating a program to effectively allow them to share in the financial upside of purchases of O2, knowing that their members would usually be buying from them instead of us.

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Startups Summer 2020