UT Startup Elite Sweets Claims $180K Prize at WeWork’s Creator Awards
Walking down Guadalupe street adjacent to the University of Texas at Austin it’s almost impossible to pass by the sweet-smelling allure of local favorite, Ken’s Donuts, without a warm, delightful pastry in hand. Since unlimited donuts have their downsides like sugar crashes and health risks, four UT alumni decided to make a donut you can enjoy and feel good about eating. The team just won $180K at the WeWork Creator Awards in San Francisco and are preparing for the Creator Awards Global in New York next month. Through travel grants from the Herb Kelleher Center, Elite Sweets will pitch for a one million dollar prize. Show your support and follow this Longhorn startup on social media or try a donut yourself!
Co-founders Amin and Amir Bahari, Timothy Cole and Caleb Bluiett embarked on their mission to devise a donut that even bodybuilders and athletes could get on board with. The result: Elite Sweets. At the University of Texas at Austin, the team participated in Longhorn Startup Lab and is now going through the Austin Technology Incubator. Their most recent success was winning second place in WeWork’s Creator Awards in San Francisco. This massive win landed the team $180,000 in prize money that will allow them to scale production and get the protein packed donuts into wider distribution.
Before the Creator Awards the team had pitched in several competitions, winning only $250 at the Elevate My Business Challenge. But, the team was determined. According to co-founder Amin, “I prepared extremely well for this [WeWork Creator] competition, unlike exams or anything I’ve done before.” Clearly, it paid off. Judges were impressed with the concept, originality, market fit and persuasiveness of Amin’s pitch. Passion and tenacity were key. The team credits Austinpreneur, Josh Baer, with the advice to keep pushing and asking [for feedback, resources, input] until someone says no — even then don’t take it as a final answer, but as an opportunity to adjust and excel.
Winning the competition was a catalyst, Amin says the coolest thing about the competition was “experiencing that moment when you see all of your hard work pay off and make believers of you and your product.” The team made their way to San Francisco with a travel grant from the Herb Kelleher Center for Entrepreneurship. Any UT student with a startup competition on the horizon can apply for a travel grant here.
The average adult should be eating around .8–1 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Athletes need even more, and it’s crucial for high-intensity trainers to consumer protein within 15–30 minutes of finishing a strenuous workout. This allows protein that was metabolized to be replenished so that muscles grow and strength improves. While there are dozens of power bars out there, no one has offered a high protein, low-sugar, gluten-free donut for this demographic before. It’s truly a comfort food turned healthy — a more appealing alternative to a power bar, which are often loaded with sugar. For the more than 29 million Americans living with diabetes, a sweet treat that is still low on the glycemic index can be hard to find, too. By leveraging natural flavors and sweetening with stevia, the Elite Sweets donut provides a nutrient-dense breakfast or snack option for everyone!
Try an Elite Sweets donut yourself at Austin coffee shops 360 Uno or Café Crème. Donuts can also be ordered online and delivered to customers’ homes. Your new favorite donut just shed the sugar, but got a whole lot sweeter.