Teddy Giard, Logan LeMance and Austin Maxwell pitched their product, the Kase Mate, on the April 7, episode of “Shark Tank.”

We’ve heard a lot about the Clemson grads who appeared on Shark Tank earlier this month and walked away with a $100,000 investment deal, but there’s an untold Kanga story. Logan LaMance takes us back to where it all began. Like many young people, Logan had a decision to make his freshman year. He could continue focusing on freedom and fun or get serious and shoot for the stars. He chose the latter and it paid off.

The Turning Point

Logan was born and raised in Pickens, SC. He started taking classes at Clemson during fall 2014. Logan says it was the end of that first semester when he realized he needed a change in direction. The following semester he was part of an internship program lead by Young Entrepreneurs Across America, that teaches students how to start and run a business. It was a house painting business called Student Painters, LLC.

Logan worked harder over the next two years than he ever had before in his life. He put in 30 – 40 hours of work per week on school and every other waking moment was spent on his business. He said it was a tough place to be, both mentally and physically, but he was driven and had a dream.

“The thing I am the proudest of is not that I brought in the biggest business or made the most money, but that I fought through it, never quit and learned a lot of valuable lessons along the way.”

An Entrepreneur is Born

That’s when he caught the bug. After running a grueling, yet successful painting business for two years, Logan was sick of paint brushes, but he knew he wanted to be an entrepreneur. During the spring of 2017, Logan took an entrepreneur class that would change his life. The class project was to create a solution for a problem that people face. Logan says finding a good idea wasn’t easy.

Then came football season. Logan and his friends were on their way to tailgate. They stopped to grab a couple 12-packs on the way. Each had coolers back at their apartments, but they didn’t want the hassle of carrying a heavy, clunky cooler a mile from home to the tailgate. That meant they ended up drinking warm beer. Logan thought to himself, “That’s a problem.” He had to find the solution next.

Logan says he saw someone take a cold beer out of a cooler and put it into a Koozie and that’s when it hit him. Logan wondered, “Why don’t we have the same thing for the whole case? We got it from the fridge (what made it cold), why don’t we have something to put it in to keep it cold for the whole time we’re actually going to enjoy it?” That’s how Kanga was born.

Mentors Help Make it Happen

Logan pitched the idea to his class and convinced them it was bigger than a project. They created a prototype for the Kase Mate and worked with mentors through the Arthur M. Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership at Clemson. Director John Hannon introduced Logan to Doug Kim of the Kim and Lahey Law Firm. Doug served as a guest lecturer for the program and would become Kanga’s intellectual property attorney.

Doug says, “I was immediately impressed with their inventions, marketing acumen and business decisions. To see these business owners accomplish so much while also attending college, should be inspiring for everyone.” John says, “This is a spectacular example of the whole Upstate entrepreneurial ecosystem coming together to support the next generation of startups. We are so grateful for Doug’s wisdom and guidance.”

Logan says he hopes his story inspires other young entrepreneurs, “If we can do it with a Koozie for a case of beer, image what other ideas can do.”

Doug Kim will give an introduction and serve as moderator during the May 2, i4Series event at ONE Main, from 4-6pm.
It’s a free networking and business development event. Learn more and register here.