Sawyer Altman and Matthew Tukel, high school students at the Jewish Academy in Bloomfield Hills, started their first business a few years ago. The idea? Bottle tap water from Detroit and brand it after the Motor City.
"We pitched it around and found out that no one wanted to drink Detroit River water so that did not sell," Altman says. "Matt and I sat down and said Detroit doesn't need water. It needs energy. That's how 313 Energy
That was late in 2011. Today, 313 Energy is in 26 retail outlets across Metro Detroit. It donates 11 cents from each sale to the Detroit Public School Foundation. Altman and Tukel, now seniors, have moved their business and its team of three people into the M@dison Building in downtown Detroit.
The company hopes to be in even more retail outlets across the region and elsewhere in the Midwest by the end of this year. The firm is already looking at creating 216 Energy (216 is the area code for Cleveland) later this year.
"School is fading to the background and business is coming to the foreground because we're seniors," Altman says, adding "we want people to drink this instead of Red Bull."
Source: Sawyer Altman, co-founder of 313 Energy
Writer: Jon Zemke
Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.