If you’re looking for something in Silicon Valley that mixes the Internet, politics and designer cereal, well, you’ve come to the right place.
Meet Cerealize, a Palo Alto company born in a moment of whimsy and brainstorming that is threatening to turn into a real company. Albeit, one that hasn’t lost its sense of fun.
This week, the folks behind Cerealize have launched a Kickstarter campaign to offer consumers their latest beta product: A choice between Romney Flakes Or Obama O’s.
The idea is a nod to a campaign that Airbnb did back in 2008 when they offered their own variety of Obama O’s:
And Cap’N McCain’s:
The difference being that rather than just a fun gimmick, this is the heart of Cerealize’s business. After deciding to create the cereals, the co-founder posted a request on 99designs.com asking designers to submit proposed cereal box designs.
They ultimately selected the design at the top of this post by Yuditya Priatama. The next step, according to co-founder Chris Bauman, is to hopefully raise at least $10,000 in the next 30 days to print the boxes, mix the cereal, and get the munchies in the mouths of voters.
“If all goes well, we’ll start fulfilling those orders by the third week of October,” Bauman said. “That way people can have the cereals to munch while standing in line at their polling place.”
Goofy, perhaps. But the contest is also an attempt to help Cerealize itself transform from an offbeat idea to a real company.
Bauman said the idea from Cerealize came from a group of 10 people who were riding a Start-Up Bus earlier this year. (He was not one of them). Wouldn’t it be neat if there was a Web site where you could customize your own cereal and boxes and have them delivered? The idea actually won the StartUp Bus competition at SXSW.
That led to a makeshift Web site, and some noodling around with the idea. But all the folks involved had other projects or jobs. It seemed destined to fade, until the crew got a call from ABC’s The Chew, asking them to whip up some custom cereals for one of their shows:
That convinced one of the bus crew, Tim West, that there might be some legs to the idea. He recruited his friend, Bauman, who had a background in sales and operations to develop the idea.
Together, they raised $5,000 from the Start Garden, a Grand Rapids, Mich. fund that lets people vote on ideas the firm should fund.
For now, you can visit the Cerealize site and mix different varieties of cereal. But you can’t order yet. Bauman said he and West are rolling out an updated site later this week that will allow for orders. And the Obama/Romney contest is part of the plan to promote that new site and develop the new ordering system.
As for making the cereal, that pretty comes down to him and West and maybe some friends. They’ll be renting some space in a caterer’s kitchen, buying the ingredients wholesale, and mixing by hand.
Dreams of a full-fledged custom designed cereal mixing factory are over the horizon. But for now, Bauman said they’re having fun with a digital company that also allows them to make an actual product.
“It’s something in Silicon Valley that was a cool technology play and an actual physical product,” Bauman said. “It’s to be making something I can actually touch and see.”