Vibing with Vodkyte
For Kyle Kent ’16, Evan Abbott ’16, and William Hooper ’16, starting a company together has been a dream come true. Close friends and teammates at Tabor, they all ended up in Boston after college, where they worked in finance and shared entrepreneurial ambitions. In 2020, they founded Vodkyte Corporation.
Vodkyte, their signature product, is an electrolyte-infused spiked beverage that they worked with a lab in Los Angeles to develop. Kent explained that the name came from the concept of the drink, Vodka with electrolytes, thus Vodkyte.
The founders of the spiked sports drink view their business as more than just a beverage company. “We’re primarily a sales and marketing company,” says Kent. The young entrepreneurs have been creative with their branding efforts, focusing effort on social media, connecting with their peers and influencers, and engaging in unique marketing ideas. Before the product even launched, the company sponsored a NASCAR car.
“We went about sort of getting a product to market at first. The formula is the number one question, and we tried making that in our kitchen for a couple months, unsuccessfully.” They hired a lab to help them perfect the formula.
“They had a pretty reputable background with other drinks in the sports drink and water categories,” says Abbott. “We really had no idea what we were getting into, we thought we wanted basically a Gatorade vodka can, like a spiked sports drink type thing, and you know, they blew out our expectations with how it came out.”
Although, it wasn’t smooth sailing from the start. “The product wasn’t a hit from the lab right away,” admits Hooper. “The first couple samples they sent back were terrible. It took four and half months of R&D and quite a bit of money behind it.”
Abbott notes, “We had been working on it since October of 2020 and finally brought it to market in November 2021.” Early sales have been encouraging. “The product's differentiated, so we've had quite a bit of positive feedback on that front,” says Abbott. “We're just trying to provide a better way to consume alcohol. It doesn't dehydrate you like everything else in a can does.”
The trio works well together, something they attribute to the strong bonds they formed as Tabor students. “We would not be as successful as we've been so far—to overcome some of the challenges we've had thrown at us—if we didn't have the friendship that we have,” says Hooper.