Student Life, Feature Story

On the Rise

January 24, 2017 – by Cole Hatcher

Ohio Wesleyan student Zack Katona '17 is working to launch a dietary supplement business called Rise. Participating in the 2015 Great Lakes and Alumni Summer Internship Program helped him in his entrepreneurial endeavors. (Photo courtesy of Zack Katona)

OWU Student-Entrepreneur Seeks to Wake Up Market

Ohio Wesleyan University student Zack Katona ’17 hopes to wake up the dietary supplement market by developing a new product called Rise.

A double major in business administration and sports and exercise management, Katona conceived Rise while completing a summer internship in New York City. During his time in the Big Apple, Katona says, his schedule was so full that the only time he could hit the gym was 5:30 a.m.

“But after missing my workout three days in a row,” the Delaware, Ohio, resident says, “I knew I had to do something.”

So Katona began setting two alarm clocks. When the first went off, he got up and consumed a caffeine-spiked “Pre Workout” drink – and went back to bed.

By the time his second alarm sounded, Katona was ready to rise and shine. Realizing that others may be interested in his unconventional means of waking up, he created Rise.

Though still in the development stage, Katona describes Rise as “a primer to kick-start the day.” He also says it is a “safe and well-rounded product, including caffeine, hordenine, phenethylamine (PEA), and other components found naturally in coffee, chocolate, citrus, and eggs.

Katona anticipates launching the product as a capsule, citing the attractive production cost and shelf-life.

While there’s no specific timetable yet, Katona already has experience in the dietary supplements business from his work as an intern, and now a territory manager, for Campus Protein, an online supplement company created by college students to cater to the college market.

When Rise hits the market, Katona anticipates selling it direct-to-consumer, potentially with recurring monthly delivery as it gets established. His long-term goal is to create a product so successful that it is acquired by a larger company, such as GNC. With supplement sales expected to exceed $60 billion a year by 2020, Katona thinks the time is right for Rise.

He shared information about Rise as a presenter at the recent Delaware Does Entrepreneur gathering, a first-of-its-kind meeting allowing would-be entrepreneurs to share ideas, and receive feedback from, community members and business leaders.

The event, held Jan. 19 at Ohio Wesleyan, was sponsored by The Woltemade Center for Economics, Business and Entrepreneurship and by the City of Delaware’s Economic Development Department. Additional Delaware Does Entrepreneur gatherings are expected to be held every other month.