BOULDER — Peak State Coffee won Naturally Boulder’s 2023 Pitch Slam last week as the most up-and-coming Colorado natural and organic company at Naturally Boulder’s 18th annual innovation showcase.
A panel judged Peak State to be the world’s first whole bean coffee company using functional mushrooms. The coffee company recently added freshly ground and single serve brew bag options.
Peak State also took home the “People’s Choice” award as voted by the crowd. The competitive Shark Tank-style event, open to the public, was held at the Boulder Jewish Community Center and was also live-streamed online.
The first, second, and third-place winners split a prize pack of a suite of business services from Naturally Boulder sponsors, valued at more than $173,000, including:
- A free 10-foot x 10-foot booth at Natural Products Expo East for the winner, plus a guaranteed opportunity to compete in the Expo East Pitch Slam competition, and six passes to participate in the trade show in September 2023, all thanks to New Hope Network.
- A one week accelerated approach to brand building from Fortnight Collective, worth $45,000.
- A two-day brand strategy sprint from Blue Quest, worth $28,000.
- Up to $25,000 of free consumer research or panel data from Ibotta Insights.
- $23,000 worth of consulting services from Whole Brain Consulting.
- Data packages worth $15,000 from SPINS.
- A trend analysis worth $7,500 from Nielson IQ.
- A strategy session worth $5,000 from Sunrise Strategic Partners.
- $3,000 cash prize from Naturally Boulder.
Second place went to Terraseed, the first vegan multivitamin in a plastic-free bottle, and third place went to Hooch Booch, hard and non-alcoholic canned kombuchas.
Also competing on stage were Hazlo, a line of non-alcoholic elixirs with electrolytes, adaptogens and antioxidants, and Qi Alchemy, which brings ancient Korean herbalism to the modern world.
“We’ve been a grassroots brand that has grown ‘naturally’ until this point,” Peak State CEO and co-founder Danny Walsh said in a press statement. “We haven’t done any paid marketing; we’ve just been focused on serving the people who find us by word of mouth. These resources are going to open so many doors for us, allowing us to get our first press, work with our first branding agency, and enter the retail channel — helping us reach so many customers who we haven’t been able to reach yet. We are beyond grateful to Naturally Boulder for this opportunity.”
Before and after the competition, local brands and nonprofit organizations that demonstrate innovation and a significant Colorado business presence exhibited in the popular Innovation Showcase, handing out samples and shared information about their products and services.
“The Pitch Slam event is always an interesting indicator of industry trends,” Naturally Boulder executive director Bill Capsalis said in a written statement. “This year, we’re seeing a doubling-down on the use of functional ingredients, including mushrooms and adaptogens, such as with Peak State. Kombucha is still an exciting category and with the acceptance of alcohol now in the category it opens up a lot of new opportunities. Climate and sustainability are also on the front burner with conscious business practices like we saw with Terraseed — consumers are making choices and buying from companies that care.”