Is This The World's Smartest Coffee?
I first met Karl and Sam, founders of Alpha Wave, on a coldish night in New York City. We swapped coffee talk over Mexican food in the East Village, as one does, and you could feel their passion radiate over bowls of guac and “skinny’ margaritas. A few months before, I’d connected with Karl to hear more about their idea, “coffee, without the crash,” natural ingredients, backed by science – a simple hack to boost your productivity. Plus, it’s convenient. Just pour the instant coffee, mix, and enjoy. Great – where do I sign up? On that cold night – ok fine, it was 60 degrees – the duo was wrapping up day two of their Kickstarter video shoot, physical product finally in hand. For anyone who has gone through the process of building a product, you know that the moment you get to hold it in your hand is arguably one of the most magical moments for an entrepreneur.
I’ve been sipping on Alpha Wave since that night, and I have to admit: these guys got it right. You get all the energy of a cup of coffee, with all the Zen of the Buddha. Alpha Wave’s Kickstarter campaigns launches right now, at 11:11AM, and I couldn’t be more excited for them. So what do you say? Should we help bring Alpha Wave to a kitchen (and suitcase, and purse, and backpack…) near you?
Karl Schneider: I graduated from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. Soon after graduation, I was exploring Asia while working in India. My prior work experience includes data analytics consulting for multiple Fortune 500 clients. I enjoy music festivals, yoga, science fiction, bio-hacking, and traveling.
Sam Hopkins: Before I was 18, I had the chance to live in the US, the UK, and Japan. My travels as a young lad inspired me to explore non-linear paths in life. So when I was working for a large corporation and building technology platforms for data scientist, I knew I wanted more - which is what led to Alpha Wave! Outside of Alpha Wave, I enjoy boxing, meditating, eating clean - and learning voraciously about evolutionary psychology and computer science.
You guys both worked in tech when you met – why move into coffee?
KS: The work I was doing in the tech industry was not fulfilling, it was a matter of getting the job done and clocking out. I have a strong passion for the health/wellness industry, and noticed a lot of people struggle with coffee. I felt like I could make a positive impact on people’s lives with a better form of energy.
SH: I would argue that our coffee IS a technology, and one that serves a more important purpose in society than the technologies I’ve built in the past.
“Coffee is such an important part of people’s day - and if we can leverage technology to provide people a great cup of coffee without some of the nasty side-effects, we’ve built something important.”
Tell us about the inception of Alpha Wave.
KS: Sam and I spent six months living in India as roommates and travel companions. One day we had a few too many cups of coffee and started talking about going into business together. We did not know at the time that a few years later we would be starting a coffee company.
What is L-theanine?
KS: In simple terms, L-Theanine is the thing in tea that keeps you calm. It also is packed full of antioxidants. For a detailed breakdown of L-Theanine, I suggest visiting examine.com.
Why combine L-theanine and caffeine? What are the benefits of L-theanine and caffeine?
KS: The reason to combine L-Theanine with caffeine is that it negates a lot of the negative side effects of caffeine. L-Theanine developed naturally alongside caffeine in the tea plant. They work as sort of a yin-yang. The caffeine gets a person going while the L-theanine keeps them calm.
The combination of caffeine and L-theanine is known as a nootropic stack. It improves cognitive performance on a variety of tasks without side effects.
What’s one question you wish people would ask you more often?
KS: What is the one thing you wish were taught in every elementary school?
What makes you passionate about the work that you do?
SH: Every day I get to work with my best friend to provide people the quality energy they need to crush life. I couldn’t ask for much more.
KS: I feel like the traditional cup of joe is fuel for the status quo. With Alpha Wave, I want people to be able to get in a flow state and see the greater picture of themselves and of our planet.
How would you advise the next generation of entrepreneurs to leave an imprint?
SH: as Seth Godin would say “Do something that matters for people who care.” If you’re going to put in 8+ good hours of work every day, make sure you’re contributing towards a cause that aligns with your purpose/ethics!
“To understand what you love takes a great deal of introspection. I would advise entrepreneurs to have a self care and mindfulness practice. “ - KS
What tools have you found helpful while starting up Alpha Wave?
SH: The magic cocktail is Trello, Instagram, and Shopify. Trello to keep track of the thousands of tasks you have as an entrepreneur, Instagram to create hype/build friendships, and Shopify to make it easy for peeps to buy your stuff!
KS: There are so many different tools that we have used, a lot have come and gone. Tools are merely a way to communicate and coordinate with other people. Focus on the people by meeting them where they are at, whether that be in person, on Facebook, or on Groupme.
Where can people go to learn more and purchase the goods?
Karl: You can pre-order Alpha Wave Smart Coffee right now!! Start by clicking here : )
What would be your desert-island item?
SH: UNLIMITED PODCASTS
KS: Gucci Belt
Go-to coffee order?
SH: Whatever natural-processed coffee is on the pour-over menu. Nothing better than that punch of fruity-ness.
KS: My favorite coffee is the cafe con leche. Thanks Barcelona! And my go-to order in the States is the flat white.
Yoga or hike?
Coffee or tea?
SH: Coffee! (all day, every day)
KS: Both… well if I have to choose definitely COFFEE!