Tag: Entrepreneurship

Adam Stumpf, PMBA ’14, has defined a unique niche within the small-batch spirits category of the distilling industry. The ingredients for his brand, Stumpy’s Spirits, are sourced from the Illinois farm surrounding his craft distillery. And the farm has been in his family for eight generations.

Stumpy’s just celebrated its second anniversary in July and has released six products to date, including a single barrel bourbon, vodka, and four flavors of whiskey. And like so many great startups, Stumpy’s began to take shape while Adam Stumpf was a student at Olin.

Stumpy’s distillery and farm in Columbia, Illinois

Thanks to Adam, Stumpy’s self-described “Chief Everything-else Officer,” for taking time from his busy schedule to tell us about his company and entrepreneurial experience:

What were you doing when you were earning your PMBA degree?

I was working at AB-InBev while I was earning my PMBA. It was also while earning
my PMBA that we conceptualized and took the first steps to starting the distillery.
In fact, while I was in the Introduction to Entrepreneurship class with David
Poldoian, we secured funding and purchased our original distillation system.

How did your Olin experience affect your career?

The Olin experience was honestly the extra push we needed to get the distillery going. Olin changed my way of thinking, changed the way I approach problems, and it changed the way I view business and the industry in general.

Did Olin courses help to build and run your business?

Absolutely. Introduction to Entrepreneurship, Supply Chain Management,
Negotiation, Economics, and Power and Politics are the classes I find myself
referring to the most often! So many incredible nuggets of information buried in
those lectures. I also competed in and was a finalist in the Olin Cup (now the Skandalaris Cup). I remember it fondly. It was our first business case competition and it helped us really refine the business plan and our pitching skills!

Were you ahead of the small batch spirits trend?

I wouldn’t say we were on the cutting edge, but we were fairly early in the
movement. Looking at industry and category trends certainly helped make the case
for launching a distillery, but definitely wasn’t the deciding factor.

This was a project where we knew we could combine our skills, our passion, and our family history to create an incredibly unique and one-of-a-kind brand.

In terms of being ahead of a trend, we are definitely on the leading edge of farm distilleries. We are one of only a handful of distilleries in the country that grows EVERY kernel of grain that we put into our bottles.

What are the biggest challenges to starting a distillery from scratch?

Oh goodness…where to start? For us, I would say that there have been a few
challenges that really stick out; some which are certainly not exclusive to distilleries:

1. Funding

My wife and I 100% boot-strapped this thing ourselves and have not sold any
equity. That has obviously made access to capital a bit challenging.

Convincing a bank to believe in your dream when all you have is a homemade mason jar of moonshine can be a bit tricky! Luckily, we have a great partner in a local bank who is willing and able to keep up with our capital requirements as we build our barreled whiskey inventory.

A whiskey distillery is certainly a cash flow problem. Spend all of your money on day 1 to make the whiskey, roll it on the shelf, and hopefully you’ll be able to pull out an incredible product in a few years, or, what is left after evaporation! Our approach has always been quality in = quality out, and we’ve had tremendous success with our whiskey thus far.

2. The unknown

We walk into work in the morning with a blank slate. There is no one to give us
direction, tell us what needs to be done, etc. It’s definitely a blessing and a curse.
We set the production schedule, the marketing budget, do the accounting, sweep
the floors, and try to make a little booze along the way. Our approach has always
been and will continue to remain to be that we aim to do what is best for our
business, our family, and our community.

Laura and Adam Stumpf

3. The not-so-glamorous side of entrepreneurship

Laura and I are incredibly involved in our business every day. Sometimes that means
18-hour days (with the occasional all-nighter). The business is almost always on your
mind so it makes work/life separation challenging sometimes. Unfortunately, we
don’t get to spend as much time with friends and family or take as many trips as we
would like, but we love what we are doing and are incredibly passionate about it.
Sometimes that makes work feel like a vacation.

There is just a certain feeling that you get when you see that first drip of alcohol come off the still in the morning or pop the cork on a barrel that has been resting on a shelf for a couple of years, turning your hard work into some incredible whiskey.

How many employees work at Stumpy’s?

Right now, there are only four of us, with a TON of help from our incredible family and
friends. My wife Laura runs the front-of-house operations and sales at the distillery;
my brother Andrew helps a ton with production in the distillery; our awesome
Brand Ambassador Rachel visits the market and introduces our brand and story to
consumers; and I’m the Chief Everything-else Officer, but spend most of my time
distilling and running the day-to-day.

How many markets are you in?

Right now our products are distributed mostly in Southern Illinois and we just
started distribution in the St. Louis area. We try to keep the store locator on our website
updated as much as possible! We’ve recently increased our production capacity by 4 times in order to prepare for future distribution growth. Hopefully, in the not so distant future, our products will be widely available throughout all of Missouri and Illinois.

Do you give tours?

Absolutely. We love giving tours. We offer tours Thurs-Sun at 2, 3, and 4 p.m. We ask
that customers call in advance to make a reservation, because we want to make sure we are not over-booking. Tours are $10 per person and last about an hour, which includes a full tasting of our products, a cocktail, and a guided tour of our entire process from front to back, along with a complimentary tasting glass to take home. For more info, folks can visit our website.

What is your advice for current students dreaming of being entrepreneurs?

Industry and relevant experience are crucial to starting a business. If you don’t have
that experience, make sure to build a team with someone that does, because it
really is a situation where you don’t know what you don’t know on so many
different levels.

You don’t have to have a brand new idea or the next Google to start your own business. In the words of someone far more successful than me, “Ideas don’t make you rich. The correct execution of ideas does.” – Felix Dennis

Jim McKelvey, entrepreneur and co-founder of Square, will be the keynote speaker at the Second Annual Wealth and Asset Management Research Conference to be held at Olin Aug. 22-23, 2017. Hosted by the Wells Fargo Center for Finance and Accounting Research (WFA CFAR), the meeting brings together researchers and practitioners who share the common goal of better understanding the capital markets to create better outcomes for investors. The conference will feature research from leading academics with audience discussions lead by industry experts in each given field of research.

McKelvey was appointed as an Independent Director of the St. Louis Federal Reserve in January 2017, but is better known for his involvement in several St. Louis-based startups including Cultivation Capital (general partner and co-founder), Six Thirty (co-founder), LaunchCode (founder), Third Degree Glass Factory(co-founder), Mira publishing (founded when he was a WashU student), and Square, the mobile payment company he founded in 2009 with Jack Dorsey.

McKelvey graduated from Washington University in 1987 with degrees in Economics and Computer Science. Earlier this year, he donated $15M to the University to build a new computer science and engineering building named in honor of his father, James McKelvey, Sr. who is a former dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

In addition to research topics, the one-and-a-half-day conference will feature presentations by noted industry experts including attorney Jerry Schlichter, and author William Cohan.

Link to register.
Sessions will be held in Emerson Auditorium, Knight Hall.

Conference Schedule:

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

12:00 – 1:00 pm  Registration – Knight Hall, Frick Forum1:00 – 1:15 pmWelcome & Opening Remarks Richard Ryffel, Senior Lecturer in Finance, Washington University

1:15 – 2:00 pm  Presenter – Bob Dannhauser, Head, Global Private Wealth Management, CFA Institute, “The Art and Science of Wealth Management: Looking to the Future”

2:15 – 3:00 pm  Presenter – Dan Bergstresser, Associate Professor of Finance, Brandeis International Business School, “Changes in the Municipal Bond Landscape since the Global Financial Crisis”

Discussant – Linda Matkowski, Chief Operating Officer, Stern Brothers & Co.

3:00 – 3:45 pm  Presenter – Andy Kalotay, President, Andrew Kalotay Associates, “Tax Optimization of Municipal Bond Portfolios”

Discussant – Steve Wood, Principal, Stephen A. Wood Consulting, LLC

4:00 – 5:00 pm   “Remembering Steve Ross: The Man and His Ideas” – Phil Dybvig, Boatmen’s Bancshares Professor of Banking and Finance, Washington University, Rick Antle, William S. Beinecke Professor of Accounting, Yale University, Michael Griswold, Senior Director, Risk Managment and Asset Allocation, Ascension Investment Management

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

8:00 – 9:00 am
A Discussion of the Importance of Financial Services to the Economy – William Cohan, Author,  “Why Wall Street Matters

9:15 – 10:00 am   Presenter – Jerry Schlichter, Founding and Managing Partner, Schlichter, Bogard, & Denton, “Litigation Pitfalls for 401k Plan Fiduciaries”

10:15 – 11:00 am   Presenter – Matt Ringgenberg, Associate Professor of Finance, David Eccles School of Business,  “On Index Investing”

Discussant – Hans Fredrickson, CIO, Oak Summit Capital

11:00 – 11:45 am   Presenter – Todd Gormley, Associate Professor of Finance, Washington University, “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: The Effect of Passive Investors on Activism”

Discussant – Charles Stucke, Chief Executive Officer, Lepercq

12:00 – 12:45 pm   Presenter – Emily Gallagher, Postdoctoral Research Associate in Household Finance, Washington University, “Financial Challenges of Low-Income Households”

Discussant – Chris Krehmeyer, President and CEO, Beyond Housing

2:00 – 2:30 pm   FinTech Showcase – Presenter – Cliff Holekamp, Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship, Academic Director for Entrepreneurship “How Venture Capital Pays”

2:30 – 3:30 pm   FinTech Showcase Panel – Ben Harrison, Chief Revenue Officer and Co-founder, DealCloud, Inc., Josh Smith, Co-founder and CEO, Solovis, Laurence Stock, COO and Co-founder, Numerated Growth Technologies, Inc., “Automation in Asset Management”

Moderator – Joe Maxwell, Managing Partner, Cultivation FinTech

3:30 – 4:15 pm  FinTech Showcase – Keynote Address – Jim McKelvey, General Partner and Co-founder, Cultivation Capital, Co-founder and Director, Square.


Andrew Glantz, BSBA’17, at 22 years old, is one of the youngest people named to the Alpha Kappa Psi Business Fraternity’s 40 Under 40 list. With 163,538 members around the world, Glantz reports he is, “the third youngest to be included on the list that includes individuals such as the Co-Founder of Reddit and VPs at Lyft and UBS, and another WashU student – Sara Miller!”

Glantz is co-founder and CEO of GiftAMeal, a for-profit social enterprise that invites customers at participating restaurants to use the GiftAMeal mobile app to share photos of their meal. For each meal shared, a donation is made to a local food bank.

Jacob Mohrman (left) and Andrew Glantz.

“I am honored to represent WashU on the Alpha Kappa Psi list. After graduating Magna Cum Laude with the Joseph W. Towle Prize for greatest potential in organizational leadership, I am excited to announce that I will be remaining in St. Louis to work full-time on GiftAMeal.” Olin faculty, mentors, and St. Louis investors can share in the excitement when a home-grown startup remains in the city’s burgeoning entrepreneurial community to evolve and and expand.

GiftAMeal won multiple awards while Glantz was an undergrad including being named a “Top 3 Student Startup” in the country at the South by Southwest Conference. The company received its first investment of $100,000 from the Capital Innovators accelerator in St. Louis, marking the first time that the group had invested in an undergraduate startup.

GiftAMeal helps restaurants acquire and retain customers, while also feeding the hungry in our communities. To date, the company has provided 68,499 meals to those in need.

Related Blog posts.

Alpha Kappa Psi is a Professional Co-ed Business Fraternity founded in 1904 with the purpose of developing its’ members into principled business leaders. Originally founded by 4 men at New York University, the professional organization now has over 240,000 initiated members at 265 universities in 3 countries. Alpha Kappa Psi has grown to be the oldest and largest business fraternity in the world.

Radhika Ghai Aggarwal, MBA 2002, Chief Business Officer and Co-founder of online marketplace Shopclues, a highly successful startup based in India, talks about the importance of mentors in her career in an interview with the Economic Times.

“I have had several mentors who have greatly influenced different aspects of my growth and learning in the past 20 years or so. My dean at Washington University, Dr Mahendra Gupta, former dean, Olin Business School, had a great influence on me during my early professional career.

“I have known my current mentor for almost 10 years now. …The most important professional advice I got from my mentor was to always hire someone better than yourself.’ She said, ‘If you find that you are generally the smartest person on the table then there is something wrong.'”

Link to Economic Times article.

Related blog post.

No one really planned the #CheerioChallenge. It just happened.

Last summer, a dad stuck on a couch with a sleeping newborn on his lap stacked five cheerios on the baby’s nose. Then, he snapped a photo. The photo went viral. The father, along with his co-founders of an online community called Life of Dad, knew they had a hit on their hands. They challenged dads to stack as many Cheerios as possible on their sleeping children. Tens of thousands of dads responded to #CheerioChallenge.

David Guest

David Guest, BSBA ’98, is one of the co-founders of Life of Dad. He shares the back story of the online dad community and how his triple major in Marketing, English, and Film Making at WashU has helped fuel his career.

1. What prompted you to create the Life of Dad online platform?

I created Life of Dad in 2010 with a good friend and business partner named Tom Riles. We met while on jury duty for two weeks in downtown Los Angeles. At the time, I had recently become a father and his wife was expecting. We began collaborating on making some funny videos about fatherhood, and once we ventured into that landscape, we saw that there wasn’t one centralized place for all the fathers of the world on the internet.

We created Life of Dad as a hub for content and connections around the journey of fatherhood. At Life of Dad, our community celebrates the adventure of fatherhood as one of the greatest experiences a man could ever hope to have. So in fact, Life of Dad is much more than a blog. We have a Facebook community of over 1.4 million members, and we have a thriving website and app that helps connect dads all over the world.

2. Has Life of Dad turned into a full-time job?

I certainly put in enough hours for it to be a full-time job, but I also work as a screenwriter and teach film making classes. Our company now generates a good deal of revenue, but we have chosen to put those resources toward hiring new sharp people to grow the business, which has brought our team to roughly twenty full time and part time employees. I love writing and teaching, so the diversity of my work life is proving to be successful for now.

3. What were you doing before you became a dad and digital entrepreneur?

After graduating from WashU, I earned an MFA in Film Production from the USC School of Cinema-Television. I had numerous jobs in Los Angeles, including working on The Bachelor TV show.

Photo that ignited the viral #CheerioChallenge campaign.

4. Did Cheerios contact you after the photos started going viral and want to advertise or promote the Cheerios Challenge with you?

Once the Cheerio Challenge started to take off, we mobilized our whole team at Life of Dad to make the most of it. We created a coordinated system to push and promote the Cheerio Challenge through all social media channels and through our own large and highly engaged audience.

At Life of Dad, we had the experience of working with many of the world’s biggest and most well known brands, so we had the ability to directly contact General Mills and their PR team. We reached out to them and created a brand partnership between Life of Dad and Cheerios, and this all happened literally on the day that the Cheerio Challenge was going mega viral before our eyes. It was very exciting, and the partnership with General Mills proved to be amazing.

Life of Dad won the prestigious Cannes Silver Lion for Promo & Activation for their #CheerioChallenge campaign with General Mills. The Cannes Lion award is recognized globally as a touchstone for creative excellence in communications.

5. Is having a viral campaign the best or only way to attract a lot of attention online?

No, absolutely not. The truth is that no one can predict when something will go viral. It’s like trying to predict the exact time and place lightning will strike. So, the secret is to consistently put out strong, interesting content.

You also want to have a team infrastructure ready to work when something you create does capture the public’s attention. Part of the success of the Cheerio Challenge was the fun idea, but the other part of the success was our ability as a team to help push it way up into the stratosphere of the world’s attention.

6. What did you study at Olin?

I earned a B.A. in Marketing at Olin, which I did almost entirely in my senior year while at WashU. It was my third major. I had already earned majors in English Literature and Filmmaking. My parents urged me to get the degree at Olin, and I’m so glad that I listened to them. The success I’ve had with Life of Dad would have never happened without the knowledge and business mindset I gained through my studies at Olin.

7. Did you plan or want to be an entrepreneur?

One of the best experiences I had at WashU was creating The Super Top Secret Student Film & Art Festival. I had this idea to create an event that combined a screening of student films with live performances, live poetry readings, a student art gallery and a big dance party with a DJ. The event was a big hit, and most of the school came to it. The event even went on for a year or two after I graduated.

WashU was so incredible in their support of this event, and its success gave me a unique direction in my life. I saw that by pushing out a collaborative idea, oftentimes talented and outstanding people would join in and add to its success. This made any idea that was created by a team inherently stronger than something that a person could do individually.

In many ways, this is the spirit of entrepreneurship, and I had the wonderful fortune of being able to discover it first hand while at WashU. The very same spirit is at the heart of everything that happens at Life of Dad.

8. What’s next for Life of Dad?

At Life of Dad, we have a tremendous community of fathers around the world. We strive to help every dad on the planet celebrate the adventure of fatherhood. We have interviewed many celebrities about their journey through fatherhood, including LeBron James, John Elway, Ice Cube, Mark Cuban, Jim Gaffigan and many others.

Any dad can download the Life of Dad app either through iTunes or by texting “Dad” to 444-999. We’d love to have everyone check it out.

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