Alex Hanifin quit her job in January 2016 to launch her instant coffee startup, Alpine Start. She didn’t have to wait long to receive vindication of her decision.
About three months had passed since the company’s launch, and she and her co-founder Matt Segal, a professional rock climber, were still selling coffee out of Ziploc bags. Hanifin then got a call. It was from REI, the sports retailer with about 150 locations. The company was interested in Alpine Start’s product. Hanifin told the retailer they were still figuring things out, but were interested in working with REI in a test region. The retailer called back the next day and said it wanted Alpine Start in all its locations.