2022 Most Disruptive Business School Startups: BOOST2GO, Northeastern University (D’Amore-McKim)


Northeastern University, D’Amore-McKim School of Business

Website Link: We currently do not have a website.

Industry: Energy Beverage Industry

Founding Student Name(s): Jhonatan Serrano

Brief Description of Solution: BOOST2GO is an all-natural energy drink that gives you the exact amount of energy you need based on FDA recommendations. Our purpose, as a company, is to support college students, starting at Northeastern, to achieve their goals to have a career. Then, in the future, I want them to be able to fully enjoy that hard work without being limited by the negative consequences of caffeine overconsumption and use of taurine (a chemical that is not found in our product).

We do this thanks to the Guayusa leaf (known as the Amazon´s Superleaf), which is a 100% natural energy source and has more antioxidants than Green Tea. Then, we seek zero artificial chemicals such as food preservatives thanks to a new and innovative technology from Ecuador; it is a patented cap that separates the formula powder, kept inside a cap chamber, from the still water. The customer needs to twist and press the cap to break a small seal to liberate the powder into the water. We finished the business model and are now in the funding stage to produce the first batches, implement FDA regulations, develop new flavors, and market on social media.

What led you to launch this venture? As an Ecuadorian citizen, this idea started from my dream of achieving the following goal: More Ecuador in the World and more World in Ecuador. I have been sad to see how my country and Latin America have been negatively impacted by political instability, lack of opportunities, and protectionism against being open to the world during the last decades. This is a reality I want to change through BOOST2GO.

We will start by working with local communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon to obtain all the ingredients that naturally grow there. This will generate an economic impact that will open higher access to essential services such as health and education beyond being completely reliant on the public sector.

What has been your biggest accomplishment so far with venture? I firmly believe that no matter how good an idea is, we do not have anything without the right people. Therefore, the most significant accomplishment so far with BOOST2GO is recruiting a fellow Northeastern and Ecuadorian student, Vanessa Baquerizo, into the team.

As much as someone could want, there will never be two exact people! Every one of us brings different toolkits, experiences, and perspectives that sometimes are seen as a weakness. Nevertheless, we believe it represents a unique opportunity to find solutions that the other member did not see and have someone have your back during difficult times.

How has your business-related major helped you further this startup venture? My full major is in Economics and Business with a concentration in Accounting (although when I was applying for school, I only wanted to be a pure Economist!). The reason? At that time, I discovered that my purpose was to improve people’s lives by not being limited by the current environment or other people’s thoughts, but I used to believe that I could do it only in the government.

Nevertheless, when applying to Northeastern through Common Application, I only found the Economics and Business option! This represented a significant shift in my career as it made me discover that the change I want to lead can be done in many ways!

Therefore, I think the most significant contribution of my major towards the venture is not the hard skills, but actually the soft skills and making me people-obsessed when thinking about new ideas for BOOST2GO.

Which business class has been most valuable in building your startup and what was the biggest lesson you gained from it? Marketing was a subject that I was not considering as much when I started Northeastern. I thought that many concepts were common sense – and that is true – but many others are not and offer so much to businesses. Therefore, when I took Introduction to Market in the Fall of 2021 it completely changed my mind! Not only did my Marketing Professor become my venture’s advisor, but also it showcased a key principle:

Companies do not sell features such as Apple with their Iphone’s 14 Megapixels camera, but instead they sell benefits. The Cupertino company sells capturing moments with family and friends through their cameras! This unique principle I never considered made us acknowledge that through BOOST2GO, we do not sell an energy beverage, but instead well-being for our customers and sustainability for the world’s lungs: The Amazon.

What business professor made a significant contribution to your plans and why? Although my Intro to Marketing professor is the venture advisor, my Managerial Accounting professor has made the most significant contribution. He did it not make this difference through reviewing our work or giving technical advice, but instead through his teaching philosophy.

Now in University, I love to participate in class, but during high school, it was the opposite. I would be completely scared of what other people would think and the teacher calling me bad for not knowing the answer. Therefore, when my Managerial Accounting professor told us that he will be calling on people to give the answer, I was terrified. How can I learn in this environment?! Nevertheless, as time proved, it became the best methodology to learn. If a student did not have the right answer, the professor would kindly ask the rationale behind it Through inquiry, students realized by themselves the answer.

Therefore, he not only helped convert the fear to participate into one of my strengths, but showed me that there is so much value in the way people think, even when they do not have the answers we expect. I understood that life is not a matter of “0” and “1” as in binary code, but really it is about diversity as maybe the best answer is a “1.5.” This is key for the success of BOOST2GO because it will allow the team to be more open-minded with customer opinions even when we disagree or initially think they are not important. Therefore, we are going to be able to consider even what is implicit in a response.

What founder or entrepreneur inspired you to start your own entrepreneurial journey? BOOST2GO has a funny story in how it started. For it, we need to go back to Fall 2021, and my roommate Jeremy was attending Northeastern’s Entrepreneurship Club program to develop his own venture. He would tell me every Saturday how it was, the concepts he was learning, and the fact I should go. However, I was very hesitant to sacrifice my weekend! I told myself all September 2021 that I had plans with my coffee and sofa to rest from classes.

However, one of those Saturdays, I watched the YouTube Channel of my favorite Online News Channel from Ecuador, and they had an interview with Mr. Santiago Peralta, founder of Pacari Chocolate. They are a family business from my country that I have heard about, but was not interested in learning more about. I do not know what happened that day, but I decided to watch the full interview, and it opened my eyes.

I learned that Mr. Peralta and his wife, Ms. Carla Barbotó, did not create Pacari as a source of income but transformed the world’s chocolate industry. I grew up hearing that Ecuador will only produce commodities and can not be a land of innovation and global transformation. Nevertheless, through these businesses, I learned that it is no longer the case and that in the end so many families are being benefited.

How did he or she prove motivational to you? They inspire me to give my 200% to serve the communities that have given me so many opportunities. They especially acknowledge that BOOST2GO is a venture that started based on a developing market and shall be an instrument to empower. Even more, it will show that in countries like Ecuador: Yes, we can do great things!

Another critical element they transformed in me is that the worse answer we can ever receive is a No. Therefore, we must be ready to try and go after opportunities and never be limited by how big a challenge looks. Mr. Santiago Peralta is a big celebrity in my country, and I thought he would never pay attention to a college student when he frequently meets with prominent businesspeople and world leaders. Nevertheless, when he received me in his office, he was so curious in learning from me and would attend any event I told him I needed his help. Even when I was at an event at the World Trade Organization, he helped me in a matter of minutes by putting me in contact with an Ecuadorian Diplomat to assist me.

What is your long-term goal with your startup? The long-term purpose of BOOST2GO is to be an instrument that drives good by giving the right amount of energy students need to achieve their dreams. At the same time, we lead economic development in local communities of the Ecuadorian Amazon Region. With the second group, we want to finally give opportunities that my government has not properly given for so many decades to the point that the country lost so many opportunities of previous generations driving the change.

A second essential purpose of BOOST2GO is to be the best energy beverage for the world, where we constantly hear what our customers need, and we do it!


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