Reflecting on a Year at Quevos


One year ago, Zack and I decided to enter the New Venture Challenge at Booth Business School with an idea we’d played around with during the few summers beforehand. We wanted to make healthy chips out of egg whites and had a prototype that could best be called “edible.” The New Venture Challenge is a class that counts for credit at UChicago and takes you through the process of starting a business. We added Ben and David to the team to round out our skill sets and started the course thinking, “Well, won’t this be a fun school project!” We didn’t have any big ambitions or thought that, at best, after the class ended we would continue to work on the chips when we graduated in 2020.

It’s hard to describe how different things were at the beginning and the end of that ten week class. When we won funding from Booth at the end, we were dead set on working on Quevos with all of our free time and bringing our egg white chips to market as quickly as we could. Things accelerated even more last May, when we started in Kraft Heinz’s Incubator program for natural food brands, Springboard. At that point, Zack and I decided we would drop out of school the following year to pursue Quevos without distractions.

One year ago, Zack and I decided to enter the New Venture Challenge at Booth Business School with an idea we’d played around with during the few summers beforehand. We wanted to make healthy chips out of egg whites and had a prototype that could best be called “edible.” The New Venture Challenge is a class that counts for credit at UChicago and takes you through the process of starting a business. We added Ben and David to the team to round out our skill sets and started the course thinking, “Well, won’t this be a fun school project!” We didn’t have any big ambitions or thought that, at best, after the class ended we would continue to work on the chips when we graduated in 2020.

It’s hard to describe how different things were at the beginning and the end of that ten week class. When we won funding from Booth at the end, we were dead set on working on Quevos with all of our free time and bringing our egg white chips to market as quickly as we could. Things accelerated even more last May, when we started in Kraft Heinz’s Incubator program for natural food brands, Springboard. At that point, Zack and I decided we would drop out of school the following year to pursue Quevos without distractions.

Through Springboard our product improved, and we learned how to become a more legitimate food company by refining the Quevos brand and developing our long term strategy. We benefited tremendously from Kraft’s expertise and from the other healthy brands in the Incubator. After that program ended in August, Zack and my year off began.

For the past 6 months, we’ve lived lives that look really different from how we thought we’d be living when we set off to go to college. We don’t see friends very much and we work through the weekends. We spend an unthinkable amount of time making chips and getting people to buy them, and just as much time trying to pitch investors that many more people are going to be buying them within a few years. It’s a radical break from our previous lives, but we have an opportunity to bring the healthiest snack ever to people across the country-- and that’s pretty damn cool. While it is a ton of work and very stressful at points, I’ve learned how to prioritize in a life with a never ending to do list, and to better work with and communicate with Zack and the rest of the team. Those learnings aren’t a degree but they’re just as valuable.

The craziest thing is to think of how we could have not applied for the New Venture Challenge, or not been accepted. I’d still be sitting in class jotting down notes about Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, instead of typing this from my room, in my parents’ house, looking forward to an eight hour day of seasoning and bagging up egg white chips, followed by a night at the computer typing emails. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Thanks for reading this and being a part of our journey— we can’t wait for what’s next.

-Nick

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