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Interview with Conrad Oberbeck, Co-Founder of Hangobi



Interview with Conrad Oberbeck, Co-Founder of Hangobi

Originally published on IdeaMensch. Source

Conrad Oberbeck is the Co-Founder & CEO of Hangobi, a functional beverage brand designed for active lifestyles and dehydration recovery. Conrad is an entrepreneur driven by his proven athletic experience as a collegiate and professional competitor and his finance and analytical background working as an investment professional across corporate and real estate verticals. Prior to founding Hangobi, he was part of the institutional investment sales group at Cushman & Wakefield and served as a Senior Associate at Saratoga Investment Corp.

As a Yale University graduate and Major League Lacrosse (“MLL”) champion (now known as Premier League Lacrosse (“PLL”), Conrad was a member of the Men’s Lacrosse team at Yale and received recognition as an Academic All-Ivy, Ivy League Champion, All-American, Team MVP and Senior Class Award Finalist. He also played professionally for MLL teams including 2015 champions New York Lizards and Atlanta Blaze. Conrad is currently an active endurance athlete, having completed the Brooklyn half marathon, NYC marathon, 70.3 Ironman Kona, and full 140.6 Ironman Cozumel – with many more Ironmans to come!

With a passion for fitness, plant-based wellness and peak performance, he founded Hangobi in 2021 with the vision to create a category leader in the holistic, recovery and performance beverage space. A direct-to-consumer brand, Hangobi employs whole, plant-based ingredients to alleviate dehydration, nausea, headaches, lack of focus and anxiety.

Where did the idea for Hangobi come from?

Hangobi is an idea I have been mulling over since college. As a D1 athlete, dedicated student and history major, and victim of social FOMO, I found myself living a hectic lifestyle at undergrad – complete with early morning workouts, late-night study sessions and die hard tailgates.

Throughout this rush and noise, I found myself without the ideal beverage that could keep me going and focused in a balanced and leveled fashion. In my experiential research, I found that non-alcoholic drinks are generally split across two categories. The first being soft drinks and “less bad for you” choices that tasted sugary with little health benefit. The second being targeted beverage supplements that created unstable energy highs and lows that ultimately did more harm than good. Needless to say, I had to settle for so many options I felt were suboptimal and often required a hodgepodge blend of soft drinks, sports drinks, kombucha and coffee to alleviate the daily chaos – not ideal.

After graduation, I worked for six years in finance and small business investing, waiting for another company to build the beverage I so dearly needed. Unfortunately, that time never came, and my impatience was wearing thin. Thankfully, in my analytical role at Saratoga Investment Corp, I had the opportunity to meet the founders of the businesses we invested in and caught the proverbial “entrepreneur bug,” most particularly enthralled with corporate leadership, culture building, product creativity and consumer feedback loops.

With this experience and my dream beverage not yet produced, I finally felt fit to take on the challenge myself and launch Hangobi! With 6x the beneficial ingredients than competitors, Hangobi is supremely positioned as a daily multivitamin to help our customers stay productive and on top of their game.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I am often trying to push myself to be my best. With role models of David Goggins and Jocko Willink, I attempt to dominate the mornings. This is typically in the form of an early morning run, push up and sit up routine and some lightweight dumbbell workout (at which point it is a great time for a Hangobi).

Then the workday starts at 8:30 a.m. and I keep going until 6:00-7:00 p.m. My day is filled with Hangobi operations work, direct sales outreach, calls to negotiate Hangobi partnerships, managing our finances, and thinking about the long term value of Hangobi. I try to stay productive within these bounds by filling up my calendar with events that are “non-negotiable” to avoid any slippage of efficiency, which is typically funneled into managing our Hangobi social media pages.

Finally, I enjoy homemade meals or pick up dinner typically in the form of salads, protein and sides, Italian, sushi or Chinese, followed by personal routine practices to keep my mindset, outlook and emotional state leveled despite the events of that day. Finally, I finish off the day with some stretching and reruns of The Office, which fortunately (or not) I can quote verbatim.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I usually ponder over new ideas while I am on my daily run, letting my mind drift and evaluate nascent concepts from different perspectives and viewpoints. If a particular idea continues to rise to the surface, I’ll then block off an hour to create a detailed outline of the idea and how it will help the world, via a business venture, or simply me in the form of self-improvement.

Once refined, I’ll bring the concept to friends and family to draw out general feedback and reveal both the positives and negatives to what I am noodling over.

If the idea still has legs, I’ll work it into my daily routine and review the effects. I’m trying to always be focused on the process, so baby steps and consistency are the key.

What’s one trend that excites you?

I’m really excited about the movement into product nutrition and effectiveness. I feel like for so long, we as consumers just plucked items off the shelf and judged product quality on taste alone. With consumers ever more studying the nutrition and ingredient labels, we are entering a new era focused on product transparency and verifiable benefits.

This is a cornerstone of Hangobi’s mission as a productivity-focused brand – with 6x the beneficial ingredients and the “net positive” (increased consumption only makes you better) nature of our beverages, consumers are appreciating our clear and concise approach to delivering stability and balance throughout their daily routines.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

The most essential habit of mine is starting my day with a workout before opening any notifications on my phone (set to silent). This principle, stated constantly by Goggins and Willink, allows you to build your mental toughness before the day begins, such that when inevitable difficulties come your way, you are strong and prepared to face them.

As an entrepreneur, I am constantly putting out fires and facing uphill negotiating challenges – preparing my body physically for this aligns my mind’s fortitude.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Study the environment and all those around you, with as much humility as you can. In my young journey founding Hangobi, I have found emulating previous business leaders and peers to be incredibly valuable. There is just so much you don’t know, and if you have the humility and interest in looking, it’s all there for you to discover.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Tricky question! Perhaps naive of me at this stage, but I’d say that I believe any individual can take on any job, as long as they are supported and challenged in the proper ways. Now knee-deep as a leader and founder, I’m constantly evaluating how I can get the most out of my team, and how they can get the most out of Hangobi and me. I may be proven wrong, but I’m deeply focused on building a team of great attitudes, rather than backgrounds.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Alongside a workout routine which I mentioned earlier, I think it’s so important to keep a list of affirming statements that clearly outline who you are and what you would like to be. When things are tough, almost daily, this list is a strong reminder of your character, goals and drive to make them happen.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

My primary strategy is to treat everyone I work with as if they are a friend and deserve my utmost respect. So much of business and progress comes from recommendations and the pulsating network effect of your supporters creating connections for you. With an emphasis on respect and dignity for whoever is across the proverbial table from you, you are sure to discover many unknown and unexpected benefits.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Shortly after leaving my previous role at Saratoga Investment Corp, I was eager to bring Hangobi to market as soon as humanly possible. In my haste and expediency, I did not have the patience to “test” out various parts of our product, which led to eventual shortcomings in our first production runs. I learned the lesson that while the drive to “get things done” is critical, have the patience and wherewithal to slow yourself down and take the necessary precautionary measures to avoid needless mistakes.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I am constantly interested in the mentor/mentee relationship and feel that this type of powerful dynamic falls on too little of our collective population. Finding and following a gleaming industry veteran can be a north star to a young professional and finding a way to facilitate a commercial, 1:1 service that can make this connection possible is something that I see as very valuable.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Running sneakers… every day I log an hour in those puppies and without them, I’d be a blistering and complaining mess!

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

Unfortunately, I am a relative luddite when it comes to productivity software. I use lists, Excel, Word and my calendar to set and bind my productivity, including a daily tracker on my success relative to what was scheduled. That being said, I did create Hangobi (shameless plug) to help mediate my body levels throughout my productivity journey…

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

The Zen and Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – this book sets its roots in thoughtful introspection, visualization and the approach to seemingly mundane tasks. The author takes you on a journey and searches for “quality,” which is simply a corollary to seeing the “value” in the little things. While so hard to implement, it makes you realize that every task you undertake, big or small, is really just a matter of perspective.

What is your favorite quote?

“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones” (Confucius)

Key Learnings:

  • – Implementing a steadfast focus on customer experience and feedback, coupled with humility and a dedication to solving problems, are the first steps to sustained business growth.
    – You don’t know what you don’t know. Keep a wary eye on the horizon and constantly be in pursuit of new information.
    – Simplify your message to build brand equity, don’t confuse your audience.
    – Build a brand centered on transparency and authenticity.
    – You will never know until you try, but really really try.


Interview with Jack Carlson, Founder of Rowing Blazers: History, Tradition, and Innovation



Interview with Jack Carlson, Founder of Rowing Blazers

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Jack Carlson is the founder and creative director of Rowing Blazers, a fashion brand that combines classic American style with a contemporary edge. Jack Carlson, a former national team rower, and scholar of history draw inspiration from vintage sportswear and traditional Ivy League fashion. His passion for design and fashion, combined with his unique background. Jack Carlson has resulted in the creation of a brand that stands out in the industry.

Can you tell us about your background and how you became interested in fashion?

I’ve always had a passion for fashion and design, even while pursuing my other interests. I grew up in Connecticut and started rowing at a young age, eventually competing at the national level. While studying history at Harvard, I became interested in the traditional clothing worn by rowers and began to collect vintage rowing blazers. This sparked my interest in fashion and led me to start designing my own clothing. After completing a Ph.D. in archaeology, I decided to pursue fashion full-time and founded Rowing Blazers in 2017.

What inspired you to start Rowing Blazers?

I wanted to create a brand that celebrated the rich history and tradition of American fashion, particularly the preppy style of the Ivy League. At the same time, I wanted to bring a contemporary edge to classic designs and challenge the boundaries of traditional fashion. I was inspired by the vintage rowing blazers that I collected and wanted to create my own versions that were both authentic and modern.

Can you walk us through the design process of creating a new collection?

The design process always starts with research and inspiration. I spend a lot of time looking at vintage clothing, archival photographs, and historical documents to get a sense of the styles and aesthetics of a particular time period or culture. From there, I sketch out ideas and work with my team to refine the designs and select fabrics. We always strive to balance classic elements with modern twists and unexpected details. It’s a collaborative process that involves a lot of trial and error, but we always end up with something that we’re proud of.

How do you stay true to your brand’s identity while also keeping up with current fashion trends?

For us, it’s not about following trends, but rather creating timeless pieces that will never go out of style. Although we draw inspiration from the past, we don’t limit ourselves to it. We’re always looking for ways to innovate and push boundaries while staying true to our brand’s core identity. We’re not interested in fast fashion or disposable clothing – our pieces are meant to last and be treasured for years to come.

Can you tell us about a particular challenge you faced while growing Rowing Blazers and how you overcame it?

One of the biggest challenges we’ve faced is scaling the business while maintaining the quality and craftsmanship that we’re known for. We’ve had to find the right partners and suppliers who share our values and are able to produce our garments to our high standards. We’ve also had to be very strategic about our growth, taking things one step at a time and not rushing into anything too quickly. It’s been a learning process, but we’ve been able to grow the business in a sustainable way that we’re proud of.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own fashion brand?

My advice would be to stay true to your vision and never compromise on quality. It’s also important to be strategic about your growth and not try to do everything at once. Start small and focus on doing one thing really well before expanding. And always be willing to learn and adapt – the fashion industry is constantly changing, so it’s important to be flexible and open to new ideas.

What’s next for Rowing Blazers?

We’re always working on new designs and collaborations, but we’re also focused on expanding our brand beyond just clothing. We want to create a lifestyle brand that encompasses all aspects of American style, from furniture to home decor to travel accessories. We’re excited to continue growing and evolving while staying true to our brand’s identity and values.

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Jack Carlson’s passion for fashion and history has resulted in the creation of a unique and innovative brand that stands out in the industry. His dedication to quality and craftsmanship, as well as his commitment to sustainability, sets Rowing Blazers apart from other fashion brands. To stay up to date with Jack Carlson and Rowing Blazers, you can follow him on LinkedIn.

Liked this interview? Check out this interview with Gracie Cedres

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Interview with Gracie Cedres: Insights on Entrepreneurship and Work-Life Balance



Interview with Gracie Cedres, Founder of G.R.A.C.E.

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Gracie Cedres is the founder and CEO of G.R.A.C.E., a company that provides virtual assistance and project management services to entrepreneurs and small business owners. With a degree in communications, Gracie has always been interested in helping others succeed in their businesses. Her passion for helping entrepreneurs led her to create G.R.A.C.E., which has been helping entrepreneurs and small business owners increase their productivity and profitability. In this interview, Gracie will share more about her journey as an entrepreneur and the success of G.R.A.C.E.

Can you tell us about yourself and your journey as an entrepreneur?

Sure, my name is Gracie Cedres, and I am the founder and CEO of G.R.A.C.E. I have always been interested in helping others, especially entrepreneurs and small business owners, succeed in their businesses. After completing my degree in communications, I worked as a virtual assistant for various entrepreneurs and realized that there was a need for high-quality virtual assistance and project management services. That’s how the idea for G.R.A.C.E. was born, and since then, I have been working hard to help entrepreneurs and small business owners achieve their goals.

How did you come up with the idea for G.R.A.C.E.?

After working as a virtual assistant for several entrepreneurs, the idea for G.R.A.C.E. came to me. I realized that many entrepreneurs were struggling to manage their time effectively and needed high-quality virtual assistance and project management services to help them become more productive and profitable. I saw an opportunity to help entrepreneurs and small business owners by providing them with top-notch virtual assistance and project management services, and that’s how G.R.A.C.E. was born.

What are some of the challenges you faced in starting and growing your business?

One of the biggest challenges I faced in starting and growing my business was finding the right team members. It’s important to have a team that shares your vision and is passionate about what they do. I also faced challenges in marketing my services and reaching out to potential clients. However, I overcame these challenges by networking, building relationships, and creating high-quality content that showcased the value of my services.

What is your vision for G.R.A.C.E. in the next five years?

My vision for G.R.A.C.E. in the next five years is to become the go-to virtual assistance and project management service provider for entrepreneurs and small business owners worldwide. I want to expand my team and services to be able to help more entrepreneurs and small business owners increase their productivity and profitability. I also want to continue building strong relationships with my clients and providing them with top-notch services.

Can you share with us some of your favorite success stories from working with your clients?

One of my favorite success stories is working with a small business owner who was struggling to manage their time effectively. By providing them with virtual assistance and project management services, we were able to help them increase their productivity, improve their marketing strategies, and ultimately grow their business. It’s always fulfilling to see my clients succeed and achieve their goals.

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?

My advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to educate themselves and never stop learning. It’s important to constantly learn new skills, stay up to date with industry trends, and seek out new opportunities. It’s also essential to have a strong work ethic, be persistent, and not be afraid to take risks. Don’t let failure discourage you, instead use it as a learning opportunity and keep pushing forward.

How do you maintain a work-life balance as a busy entrepreneur?

Maintaining a work-life balance can be challenging as a busy entrepreneur, but it’s essential for your well-being and the success of your business. One of the things I do is prioritize my tasks and delegate when necessary. I also set aside time for self-care activities like exercise, reading, and spending time with family and friends. It’s also important to know when to disconnect from work and focus on other aspects of your life.

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Gracie Cedres is an inspiration to entrepreneurs and small business owners worldwide. Her dedication to helping others and passion for entrepreneurship has led to the success of G.R.A.C.E. With a vision for continued growth and success, Gracie is sure to make an impact in the virtual assistance and project management industry. To learn more about Gracie Cedres and G.R.A.C.E., visit her website and follow her on LinkedIn.

Liked this interview? Check out this interview with Evan Cagner

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Interview with Evan Cagner: Insights into the World of Tech and Entrepreneurship



Interview with Evan Cagner, CEO of TechBlue

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Evan Cagner is the founder and CEO of TechBlue, a company that provides managed IT services to businesses of all sizes. Evan has over 15 years of experience in the tech industry and has helped numerous businesses grow by leveraging technology. He is a thought leader and innovator in the IT industry, with a keen eye for emerging trends and technologies. In this interview, Evan Cagner shares his insights into the world of tech and entrepreneurship.

What inspired you to start TechBlue?

I’ve always been passionate about technology and how it can be used to solve business problems. I started my career working for a large IT consulting firm, and I quickly realized that there was a big gap in the market for managed IT services. Small and medium-sized businesses often struggle to keep up with the latest technology trends, and they don’t have the resources to hire full-time IT staff. That’s why I decided to start TechBlue – to help these businesses leverage technology to grow and succeed.

What sets TechBlue apart from other managed IT services companies?

There are a few things that set TechBlue apart from other managed IT services companies. First and foremost, we are incredibly focused on customer service. We believe that building strong relationships with our clients is the key to our success. Second, we have a team of highly skilled technicians who are constantly learning and staying up to date with the latest technologies. Finally, we are very flexible and can customize our services to meet the unique needs of each of our clients.

How do you stay on top of emerging trends in the tech industry?

I’m always reading and staying up to date with the latest news and trends in the tech industry. I attend conferences and meet with other thought leaders in the industry to discuss new technologies and how they can be used to solve business problems. I also encourage my team to stay up to date and share their knowledge with each other.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the IT industry?

The pandemic has had a significant impact on the IT industry. With so many people working remotely, there has been a huge demand for cloud-based services and virtual private networks (VPNs). There has also been an increased focus on cybersecurity, as remote workers are more vulnerable to cyberattacks. Overall, the pandemic has accelerated the shift toward digital transformation and has highlighted the importance of having a reliable and secure IT infrastructure.

What advice do you have for entrepreneurs looking to start their own businesses?

My advice would be to focus on building a strong team and never stop learning. Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you and who have different skill sets. Be willing to take risks and make mistakes, but also be willing to learn from those mistakes. And finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice from other entrepreneurs who have been through it before.

What is your vision for the future of TechBlue?

My vision for TechBlue is to continue to grow and expand our services to meet the changing needs of our clients. I want to stay at the forefront of emerging technologies and continue to be a thought leader in the industry. Ultimately, I want to help as many businesses as possible leverage technology to achieve their goals.

What do you like to do in your free time?

In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family and staying active. I’m an avid runner and I also enjoy playing basketball and golf. I’m also a big fan of music and enjoy going to concerts and discovering new artists.

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Evan Cagner is a true leader and innovator in the IT industry. His passion for technology and customer service has helped TechBlue become one of the most respected managed IT services companies in the business. With his keen eye for emerging trends and technologies, Evan is sure to continue to make an impact in the industry for years to come. To learn more about Evan Cagner and TechBlue, you can visit their website or follow them on LinkedIn.

Liked this interview? Check out this interview with Makayla Gordon

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