by Elizabeth Savin ’25
On Wednesday, May 11th, Residents and Tinkers of The Garage gathered together for the last Family Dinner of the academic year. Student-founders had the opportunity to hear Ansh Prasad (‘22) and Liliana Sydorenko (‘22) speak about their company Minimal Snacks. Everyone was excited to hear more about the creation of the company since the Minimal Air Dried Beef is already a favorite snack of Garage Residents.
Minimal Snacks is a “Superfood innovation startup creating delicious, high-quality products with recognizable ingredients you can count on one hand.” The Minimal Snacks team includes founder Ryan Teo, co-founder and CEO Ansh Prasad, and co-founder and Product Development Lead Liliana Sydorenko. The team has been working on the product for two and a half years and recently took their first product to market. “Our company has two main goals,” shared Liliana. “We want to encourage consumers to look into the ingredients they eat and we want to put pressure on manufacturers to be open and honest about what they use in their products.” The team is now working to create a line of healthy snacks made with minimal ingredients.
The team shared their three stages of growth with the student founders. “First we were just cooking in Ryan’s off-campus apartment.” The team began recipe development in order to create a high protein, low sugar snack that still maintained a high-quality taste. While the team was able to make small batches for the purpose of experimentation, they realized they would never be able to scale in that manner. “Next, we moved to a commercial kitchen.” The company entered its trial phase, using different proportions of its four key ingredients in order to create the best possible product. “For the last year and a half, we have been using a co-packer.” This change will allow the team to scale and share their product with more people.
When the product was ready, the team launched it on Kickstarter. This choice allowed them to raise capital as well as complete a flight test of the product. “We had the chance to see how people would respond. The Kickstarter has also given us an opportunity to show potential investors and buyers the positive response our product receives.”
In addition to the Kickstarter campaign, the team is working to create relationships with different influencers in order to increase the promotion of their product. In order to forge these relationships, the team discovered when they sent cold messages to athletes through Instagram that, “Being a student start-up is a great story to tell and people want to help you.” The team shared some of the most important lessons they learned from this process with the group. To start, you should message influencers with 5,000 - 10,000 followers. You will never create relationships if you just message people with over 1,000,000 followers as you are just one of many messages. Minimal Snacks successfully reached a handful of people that allowed them to build brand credibility as well as forge new connections for the future.
The team is excited to expand the product line, finish fulfilling their Kickstarter deliveries, and continue to be a sustainable company with a clear message - pushing the boundaries of what a snack should be. Want to learn more? Click here to access the website and Subscribe to join the email list.
Elizabeth Savin ’25 is a Manufacturing and Design Engineering major from Wilmette, IL. She is a student aide at The Garage and was part of the Winter 2022 Propel cohort. She is excited to begin her own venture while learning more about entrepreneurship.