“Yeah, it's an interesting story and I don't have the linear journey professionally,” said Petersen. “Ocean Spray reached out and connected with me about an opportunity to help them launch CarryOn and to spin it out and try to see where they can take it. It came out of something called the Lighthouse Incubator and I found the concept really intriguing.”
Petersen described the program as a happy medium between a true startup and corporate innovation. He said it allows him to focus on growing the brand with the financial backing, experts, R&D and all the other benefits that the beverage giant has to offer.
“We’re able to tap into Ocean Spray's experts in beverage development and R&D, sales, all of that infrastructure that Ocean Spray has built over the last 90 years. But I also have enough rope as a start-up founder where I don't have to run every little detail back by the corporate entity itself. So it's a wonderful kind of halfway medium between the two.”
Aside from CarryOn, Petersen is both an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at the University of Cincinnati and an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the 1819 Venture Lab. He said in order to be a successful entrepreneur, simplicity is key.
“I think that we live in a culture today where many of our celebrities growing up... was like Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. Athletes were the idea of celebrity and we live in this interesting time period now where certainly athletes are celebrities and pop stars, but also really successful entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg or Elon Musk, like these are the people that we tend to hear so much about in the news and I think that what that can do is it gets people interested in becoming entrepreneurs,” said Petersen. “So what I would advise people to do is to really liberate themselves from the idea that to be a successful entrepreneur, you have to be a unicorn company or a billionaire.”
To hear the rest of Petersen’s advice to entrepreneurs, listen to the NutraCast.
NutraCast is a podcast that focuses on insights from inside the nutrition industry. It is a production by NutraIngredients-USA. Music by Kevin Macleod.