John Mascari, ’08CC, had recently graduated from Harvard Business School when he noticed that his sister, who was expecting her first child, was struggling to obtain the right balance of nutrients during her pregnancy. In February of 2014, Mascari and co-founder Kwany Lui set out to provide mothers-to-be with tasty beverages that would meet their nutritional needs. The result was Bundle Organics — the very first juice brand designed specifically for expecting and new mothers.
Before moving into the Columbia Startup Lab, Mascari was working out of his New York City apartment. The Lab provided his small company with office space during a critical expansion phase — Bundle Organics launched a new line of teas in 2016 — and offered a network of supportive and intellectually diverse peers. “Coming into The Lab and having the space to really grow was great,” says Mascari. “The supportive environment improved our ability to recruit talented people, meet new influencers, and expand the ecosystem of the Bundle Organics brand.”
Moreover, Columbia Entrepreneurship played a formative role in the company’s evolving business model. “When we first got into The Lab we were primarily an eCommerce business,” says Mascari. The company’s digital model allowed them to scale quickly and overcome typical barriers to entry in the food and beverage space. While based in The Lab, Bundle Organics launched in more than 400 brick-and-mortar stores, including Babies R Us and Buy Buy Baby — two major wins indicating the company’s positive trajectory. Now, Mascari says they are continuing to build out offline distribution along with their growing online reach.
The biggest advantage Mascari gained from the Lab, he says, was the wealth of professional resources made available to participants — resources which have played a crucial role in expanding the brand’s network. Mascari says his decisions are still informed by lessons learned from a valuable meeting with Derris & Co., a major, tech-focused New York public relations agency and resource for Columbia Startup Lab participants. If the brand’s glowing coverage from publications like the New York Times, Entrepreneur, and a multitude of reputable parenting blogs is any indication, the duo has successfully leveraged those takeaways into an effective publicity strategy.
What’s next for Bundle Organics? Mascari says that the overall vision for the brand “is to continue to roll out really great products for women who are prenatal and postnatal,” and to ensure they have access to “great foods, beverages, and snacks that support them during this time in their lives.” If all goes according to plan, Bundle Organics’ products will be in 2,000 more stores by this time next year. They may have their work cut out for them, but the vitamin-packed future is bright for Bundle Organics’ all-star founders.