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Local startups competing for a chance to win $500,000

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- Participants are competing for a chance to win $500,000 in Notre Dame’s McCloskey New Venture Competition.

The idea behind the competition is to support local business plans.

The competition is open to Notre Dame students, faculty, alumni and even students from other local colleges and startups.

One team selling their product, Cold Brew Fuel, is hoping to expand their business and find their home in a niche market, changing the game for pre-workout drinks.

Cold Brew Fuel started out as an idea in a college dorm room for avid runner and graduate student Nick Wilt.

Wilt was searching for the best healthy product on the market to fuel his body and keep him energized both pre and post-workout.

“I couldn’t find anything, so I started making it,” said Nick Wilt, Founder of Cold Brew Fuel.

Wilt created Cold Brew Fuel by combining coffee and pre-workout into one.

“As more people wanted it, as my friends were like ‘that’s really interesting’, I started giving them samples really creating a better formula and then now we have a legit product that we’re selling,” said Wilt.

Wilt and a team of nearly 10 people worked to perfect the Cold Brew Fuel business plan, competing for a chance to win $500,000 in the McCloskey New Venture Competition.

“This competition has turned my idea into a hobby, into a business” said Wilt. “So it’s made us think about the financials, the different market segments…how we can develop this and scale this into a viable business.”

With the help of doctors and nutritionists, the team created a formula that makes their product stick out among others in the industry.

Cold Brew Fuel is made of only four, healthy ingredients.

“All extremely organic, all natural, clean ingredients,” said Anshul Dhingra, CFO of Cold Brew Fuel.

What sets Cold Brew Fuel apart is that it does not have any synthetic ingredients like others in the market that are bad to put into your body, according to the team.

“We found something that ‘hey’—across the board people loved, it made people feel good and they were really excited to take it before a workout,” said Dhingra.

One team member, Amanda Abner, agreed that the synthetic caffeine existing in pre-workouts she used to take left her feeling groggy.

“Synthetic materials, you don’t need to be putting them into your body,” said Amanda Abner, team member of Cold Brew Fuel. “If you can get an all-natural product then why wouldn’t you want to try it?”

Cold Brew Fuel targets a niche boutique workout market, like local fitness studios and CrossFit. The team hopes to expand beyond the Michiana area.

“We have a team that’s really excited about this product and really passionate about it and we kind of have this fire under us and that would really just be the next step to really get us running really fast,” said Wilt.

The winner of the McCloskey New Venture Competition will be announced towards the end of April. Participants present a 10-page business plan on Sunday for the second round of the competition.

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