Special thanks to local startup accelerator Accel7 for sponsoring this series highlighting Hudson Valley entrepreneurs and startups.
From their origins in Kingston, brothers Jimmy, Jake, and Jordan DeCicco have gone on to found Super Coffee, a keto-friendly energy drink that's available in supermarkets and gyms everywhere.
Jimmy DeCicco and his brothers Jake and Jordan grew up in Kingston, attended Kingston High School, and excelled at both sports and academics. Now, they’re working together as the founders of Super Coffee, a bottled coffee-based energy drink that competed on Shark Tank and has gone on to be stocked in supermarkets and gyms around the country.
The premise is simple — typical energy drinks aren’t healthy, but plenty of people still need a boost beyond what a mere cup of coffee can provide. Originally designed for the needs of student athletes and other early-to-wake people, Super Coffee is a mixture of iced coffee and keto-friendly protein, oil, and fruit extract that prevents the usual caffeine crash.
The company is now worth $200 million.
I spoke to Jimmy DeCicco, the eldest brother and CEO of the company, about growing up in the Hudson Valley and what life looks like now.
Hello! Who are you? Tell us about yourself. What are you passionate about? What do you enjoy doing?
My name is Jimmy DeCicco and I am the Oldest Brother and CEO at Super Coffee.
I played football at Kingston High School (‘11) and then at Colgate University (‘15) and sports have always been a major part of my identity. I am competitive and compassionate with a deep desire to win with teammates who share a similar determination and passion for a common goal.
My two younger brothers, Jake and Jordan, and I started Super Coffee in 2015 as tired student-athletes and we’ve been building ever since!
When I’m not working on the business I’m a fitness enthusiast, an avid bow-hunter, and a snowboarder when there’s snow.
How did you discover the Hudson Valley?
My dad was born and raised in Kingston and he raised us in Hurley, NY. I attended Kingston High School class of 2011.
Walk us through a typical day.
I wake up early, usually between 5 and 6am. I try to get some level activity or fitness done in the morning — if I don’t make it to the gym I’ll usually just jump rope, stretch, and hit some pull-ups and push-ups at my apartment. Movement in the morning is key for me. I usually practice intermittent fasting, so I only drink water and black coffee in the morning with no food til lunch time. I then catch up on my email from 6 to 7am and I’m usually at the office by 7:30am.
My day is typically filled with team calls or meetings — I oversee marketing and finance. I’m in charge of investor relations so oftentimes I’m pitching investors or managing expectations of existing investors. I try to leave the office by 6 or 7pm. If I didn’t workout in the morning I’ll workout after work, eat a meal, try to read 5-10 pages of a book and then I’m asleep by 9:30 or 10pm.
Do you have a go-to coffee or beer order, and from where?
When I’m not drinking too much Super Coffee my go-to coffee order is a red-eye (coffee with a shot of espresso) from Rough Draft.
Where do you do your best creative work?
I do my best creative work from places outside of my apartment and office. Since I spend most of my time at the office or at my apartment, I use that time to hammer through projects and day-to-day responsibilities. When I want to be creative I usually wander into a coffee shop, cafe, or coworking space. The new environment helps me come up with new ideas.
How has the Hudson Valley influenced or impacted your creative work?
The Hudson Valley is really my personal motivation and inspiration. To me, the Hudson Valley represents freedom and opportunity. I’ve been living in NYC for the last 4 years and though it’s productive for building our business, it feels confining and suppressing. I try to escape to the Hudson Valley to explore hikes in the Catskills or go to Sunday dinner at my grandmother’s house in East Kingston. A weekend upstate is like pressing the reset button which leads to more productive, creative output.
What’s surprised you most about living and working in the Hudson Valley?
Growing up in the Hudson Valley, I took its beauty and opportunity for granted. Now that I live in NYC, I crave getting back into the Hudson Valley as much as possible. We’ve been very fortunate that our work has taken us all over the country to every major city and state. After seeing it all, I have an even greater desire to build my life in the Hudson Valley. It truly is one of the most beautiful and unique areas in the country.
What’s been challenging about doing your work here?
Working from the Hudson Valley has some accessibility issues. It’s difficult to host meetings with prospective clients and investors and it’s difficult to attract talented employees away from their lives in big cities.
What do you hope to see for the Hudson Valley in the next five years?
Continued development and innovation. The Hudson Valley is ripe for innovation and industry. I’d like to see the Hudson Valley attract entrepreneurs and innovators who solve problems and create opportunities for their local and national communities.
Are you part of any local groups or communities you’d like to mention?
Growing up in Hurley, our mom worked at the YMCA in Kingston; we were pretty much raised there so it will always be a part of our identity and it’s an obligatory stop on each visit to Kingston. I try to stay involved in Kingston Tigers Football whether it be helping out at practice working out with the student-athletes when I’m home.
Anything you want to plug or promote?
Kingston High School, especially KHS athletics, needs support from its alumni. Please don’t hesitate to reach out, get involved, and give back.This interview has been edited.