New Orleans-based entrepreneurs Craig Cordes and Antonio LaMartina of Big Easy Blends join the ranks of some of the country’s most promising new companies on Inc. Magazine’s 30 Under 30 list. The list, which also includes the young innovators behind Pinterest, Spotify, and Codeacademy this year, has identified some of the most successful young moguls under the age of 30 in the annual ranking.
So move over, Mark Zuckerberg, because Facebook can’t quench one’s thirst on the Mardi Gras parade route or the Pensacola shores quite like a Mar-GO-rita can.
Big Easy Blends, which produces the grown-up version of the Capri Sun, was founded in 2007 by Craig Cordes, Antonio LaMartina, and Sal LaMartina (over 30), as a result of the age-old spring break conundrum – no glass beer bottles on the beach. The portable drinks are housed in an easy-to-carry/store pouch, and equipped with a re-sealable cap and straw to complete the easy-to-access package.
Since the company’s inception, Big Easy Blends has grown from the days when the three friends would manually fill drink pouches to a 55,000-square-foot facility in Harahan with 126 employees. This year, with national distribution at chains including Winn Dixie, Walgreens, Duane Reade, and Wal-Mart, they are projected to produce 1.2 million cases of their drink product, which should bring annual revenue to $27 million, as compared to the $4.6 million they racked up last year.
A milestone that propelled the trio onto the radar of venture capitalists and national chain stores was involvement in The Idea Village’s accelerator program in 2010. That year, Big Easy Blends won The Coulter Challenge, a pitch competition that culminates New Orleans Entrepreneur Week and landed them $350,000 in angel capital and a 350 percent revenue increase that year.
The 30 professionals on the 30 Under 30 list are ranked according to the number of “likes,” so go to Big Easy Blends’ profile and place your vote.