Ryan Grepper was first working on a portable, gas-powered, super-blender of sorts when the idea for the Coolest Cooler first struck him. It was independence day and Grepper was set to join some of his friends for a party on the beach and so, he decided to take his super-blender, then called the Coolest, along with him so that they would have a cooler to store drinks in. Here, Grepper re-engineered the Coolest to hold a car-speaker, and soon realized the potential for a multi-utility cooler as a product.
He went back to work on the Coolest, experimenting with various things, including a Bluetooth speaker, Universal Serial Bus (USB) ports, LED lamps, bottle openers, a blender, a pop-out cutting board and much more. Eventually, Grepper got to adding on common household things, such as plates, cutlery, drinkware and cup holders, creating an all-in-one portable party speaker that, essentially, functioned as a portable party kit. After positive input from numerous friends, Grepper believed this product be extremely viable in the market, and so, decided to pursue funding to get the Coolest Cooler on the market and available to consumers.
To this end, he launched a kickstarter campaign in November of 2013, hoping to secure $125,000 to get his company off the ground. His first wave, however, failed, as it went under the radar and failed to generate enough interest. Learning from this experience, Grepper re-thought his approach to crowdfunding and launched a second attempt in the summer of 2014. As it was the summertime and Grepper was supported by a small but steady stream of supporters from his first campaign, The Coolest Cooler was able to garner much more interest and publicity in the media. The second time around, it managed to generate more interest than Pebble Time’s initial campaign, generating over $13 million.
The Coolest Cooler proceeded to garner more public interest as the word of their kickstarter campaign spread, leading to over 60,000 orders. This, however, proved to be their downfall as well. Although Grepper had managed to raise funds through kickstarter, he failed to anticipate the eventual demand for his “party-in-a-box” cooler. As a result, when orders began to come in, the company was very poorly positioned to meet the demand, failing to produce and shit the requisite number of units. To this day, Coolest Cooler still has undelivered orders, leading to public outcry and a lot of unsatisfied customers. While Coolest Cooler represents the highest highs of the crowdfunding platform, it’s failure to prepare for the inevitable left them exposed, highlighting the dangers that come with crowdfunding and platforms like kickstarter and indiegogo.
with success comes high expectations...
One of my mentors told me once, if you can’t handle disappointment and rejection, pack up your toolbox and find a new career.