Climate Change Heroes: “Stay strong and remember that every setback is a setup for a comeback” with Vincent Zaldivar and Chaya Weiner

Chaya Weiner
Jul 11 · 6 min read

As part of my series about companies who are helping to battle climate change, I had the pleasure of interviewing Vincent Zaldivar, CEO of CoCoTaps. Vincent is an eco inventor and entrepreneur recently seen on ABC hit TV Show Shark Tank. CocoVinny has founded and funded a variety of business ventures over the past 15 years. Currently, the CEO at Coco Taps is the world’s first ever zero waste designed coconut water tool system with resealable cap, which makes drinking coconut water fun and convenient and better for the planet.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I was actually at my lowest point at the end of my last career as CEO of a Gaming company. I was overweight, overworked, and surrounded by all the wrong people, miserable and unfulfilled are a couple words to describe my low of lows. I woke up one day and just decided to re write and reinvent my entire story. I quit my job, ended a 3 year relationship, sold all my belongings and rented out my house and moved to a 300 square foot studio shack. I decided that no matter what I did next in my career it had to be good for people, good for the planet, and fun. Once I set that intention it all manifested from there.

What is the mission of your company? What problems are you aiming to solve?

We want to hydrate the world and reverse the climate crisis we are in one coconuts at a time. We make drinking coconut water right from the coconut easy and we eliminate plastic packaging, cans and Tetra Pak bottles and the processing that coconut water comes in by serving it fresh from the coconut.

Can you tell us about the initiatives that your company is taking to tackle climate change? Can you give an example for each?

Yes we have taken the time and investment to make our company fully certified as a ZeroWaste production facility and we repurpose reuse and recycle everything in our supply chain. We also are coco committed to innovate and have a fully ocean safe bio degradable tap that’s made out of maize corn. We also are partnered with the One Tree Planted organization and plant 1 trees for every Package of eco friendly straws we sell and we plant 8 trees for every CocoLove bracelet we sell.

What was the most difficult thing you faced when you first started your company/organization? Can you share how you overcame that? This might give insight to founders who face a similar situation.

The most difficult thing was writing a check to develop a new product that nobody had ever seen before and to continue to write check and invest on pure blind faith for 18 months to get this product made. The way you overcome any tough situation is to purely decide and have a definiteness of purpose that no matter what you just keep going and never give up. Stay strong and that every setback is a setup for a comeback and that everything is temporary, so if you have thick skin, short term memory and a positive attitude anything is possible.

Many people want to start a company to tackle environmental issues, but they face challenges when it comes to raising enough money to actually make it happen. Can you share how were you able to raise the funding necessary to start your organization? Do you have any advice?

You really have to believe in yourself and work super hard and long and even work another job for a couple years to get it off the ground until you can get the product sold and in the market. I had a very lucky break when a doctor lent me the money to produce our first product manufacturing production. Once the product was ready then I went out and figured out how to sell it. It was a challenge but really is starting to get fun once you get momentum and traction.

Do you think entrepreneurs/businesses can do a better job than governments to solve the climate change and global warming issues? Please explain why or why not.

It’s not a function of doing better or worse than each other it’s really going to take both working together for a common goal and full on collaboration to regenerate and inspire the full on reversal of all the damage of our ecosystems. It’s going to take everyone working together and committing to the long term health of the future generations .

What are some practical things that both people and governments can do help you address the climate change and global warming problem?

We must create more circular economic models as well as create more ZeroWaste rewards and incentives. I also believe that we can create alternative materials that can be reused and repurposed to create closed loop healthy systems to eliminate waste and also cut the carbon footprint.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

There’s a long list of people that were all apart of this evolution and I’m so grateful to Ken Tempelton and Dr. Pj Laurito and George Mahfouz many others that believed in me to lend us money and also lend us a tremendous amount of advice to keep us in the game.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)

I wish someone would have told me that people are going to be ridiculously hard on you, that life is gonna knock you on your ass, it always takes longer and costs more, it will get worse before it gets better, get used to the roller coaster ups and downs.

Simply put I’ve been upset and disappointed so many times along the way so far that if you aren’t crying or disappointed you really aren’t trying hard enough. From massive upsets on shark tank, to failed launches with customers like Whole Foods to running out of money to make payroll, this ride is not made for everyone. You gotta be willing to get kicked in your coconuts and be able to keep on going.

You are a person of great influence and doing some great things for the world! If you could inspire a movement that would bring a great amount of good to the world, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

I would like to build entire Regenerative agriculture model CocoVinny Farm in Hawaii that would build soil, feed people, sequester carbon, create jobs, solve food waste issues, and plant millions of trees for oxygen.

What is the best way for people to follow you on social media?

Instagram: @Cocotapsforyou and @CocoVinny

This was so inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

Chaya Weiner

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Writer, Mom, Photographer.

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.