Entrepreneur Follows Drive to Successful Startup

Posted by: Justin Pyles - December 22, 2015

As new member educator, Brad Summey (Kennesaw State University, 2011) often told chapter members, “You always have to figure out what in life drives you and latch onto that thing.” A few summers later Summey found his drive in a product that led his startup company to a successful launch.

It started in the summer of 2013 when Summey and a few friends hit the road to see the University of Georgia football team play at Vanderbilt University. After stopping several places along the way, they quickly realized they could not find beef jerky that met their standards.

“We really love beef jerky, and whenever we stopped we would be insanely disappointed and frustrated by the selection of ‘gas station’ jerky,” Summey said.

Summey jokingly decided he was going to figure out how to make his own beef jerky. “I told my entire family that if they get me anything for Christmas just to get me a dehydrator and so they did,” Summey said. “Right after Christmas, I started to learn how to make beef jerky.”

He then started toying with the idea of raising money to fund an actual product instead of just making jerky in his kitchen. Although they made fun of him from the start, two of Summey’s friends from the Vanderbilt road trip decided to help and invest in the project. They bought two more dehydrators so they could make larger batches and test more flavors at once.

“After letting the meat marinate for 24 hours, it takes five to eight hours for the meat to dehydrate. So basically, every other day we were making a new batch of beef jerky until we got it right."

Within few months, Summey and his team perfected their recipes. They launched on the crowd-funding site, Kickstarter, on Jan. 31, 2014, with the goal of raising $12,000 and were blown away by the response. They ultimately raised $20,126 with 407 backers in just 30 days. From there Savage Jerky Co. was born.

“We really wanted to present ourselves as something bigger than we were because there is a huge value to people based on the brand of the project because that is really what you are investing in,” Summey said. “ I was pretty confident going into Kickstarter. We did not need a ton of money because we did not expect it to be this big in the first place.”

Savage Jerky Co. really took off as Summey and his team filled all the Kickstarter orders and shipped to their backers. In that time, Savage Jerky was featured on blogs and websites such as Uncrate, The Mantry and BespokePost.

Ten months later, Savage Jerky decided to turn up the heat and again took to Kickstarter to launch their Sriracha Series where they introduced three new flavors Sweet Sriracha BBQ, Sriracha Teriyaki and their most favorite flavor, Sriracha Bacon.

Again, they were met with mouthwatering backers. In the first 24 hours, they had nearly 100 backers and more than $3,500. The project was chosen as a Kickstarter Staff Pick within the first hours of launch. Ultimately, they raised $23,159 with 543 backers for their Sriracha Series Kickstarter.

“We've accomplished our goal of creating a natural, hand-crafted beef jerky that is full of unique flavor,” Summey said.

To learn more visit www.savagejerky.com