About two weeks ago, under an uncharacteristically clear Chicago sky, Ben and I sported funny square caps and flowing purple robes, and finally graduated from Northwestern University. In a fervor of friends, toasts, and tears we said our goodbyes. Goodbyes amidst the palpable sense that our time here, land of late nights and infinite winters, the place that we grew up, was over.
However, the end also brought the sense of a myriad of new beginnings. For Motxo, the spring brought the excitement that comes from turning amorphous ideas into tangible ones. In small batches we brewed, bottled, and kegged (slicing our fingers in the process) over 200 bottles of Motxo throughout the spring, pre-selling over 100 bottles to friends, family, and surprisingly, a smattering of people who reached out to us, clambering to know what the wine and cola fuss was all about.
Earlier on in the spring, we entered the Northwestern Venture Challenge, a business pitch competition open to all Northwestern students. After making the semi-final round, and practicing repetitively like crazy people in empty classrooms around campus, on June 4, Ben and I pitched to a panel of six judges in an auditorium big enough that our voices bounced and echoed off the cavernous walls. Simultaneously intimidating and electrifying—Motxo won one of three Undergraduate Prizes in the competition and went home with $3,000 and a giant check that proudly, much to the amusement of my roommates, took center stage in my living room.
What we're most proud of, however, is the work that our team as a whole contributed throughout the spring. Kathy Zhang, Aniket Lila, and Lizzey Johnson all jumped on board, bringing considerable smarts, a diverse set of talents, and holistically new perspectives to our team.
What I'm most grateful for is the unbridled passion that everyone put behind their work—whether we were meeting, melting, and eating ice cream in my living room on a muggy May afternoon, joking around in our weekly check-in's, generously testing our product at our soft launch party, shooting our first promo video, or strong arming Kathy (she generously offered, I promise) to let us use her fridge to store our carbonating keg, there was never a dull moment, never a time when we weren't inspired and challenged by their ability to jump in, blindly and headlong to help this company succeed. The successes we had last quarter couldn't have been achieved without them
Our big check buddy got to travel with us all the way back to California. Since my car had to get back from Evanston somehow, we decided a road trip would be the perfect way to give college the homage it deserved. We stuffed our carbon dioxide tank, two dozen bottles of Motxo, two skateboards, a cactus, a bonsai tree and the rest of our lives into my car and said goodbye to the Midwest.
We ate barbeque in Kansas City, listened to a lot of Serial, stopped, perhaps stupidly to take photos of lightning in an open field, hiked in Colorado, debated aliens and string theory across open stretches of Iowa, woke up at 5am to see the sunrise in Arches National Park, almost died of dehydration hiking the same day, but sat at the top of 1,400 foot abyss and relished in that unattainable kind of silence. The stars were open and endless against the eerie, prehistoric topography. Jupiter and Saturn lingered, too-close twins, together in the early summer sky.
Somehow, despite a precarious incident on the Bonneville Salt Flats we made it back to California in one piece. I cannot say the same for my cactus, but as always, the Motxo team is searching for our next adventure as we work through these warm, uninterrupted summer days.