St. Olaf College | News

St. Olaf alumna dives into entrepreneurial ‘Shark Tank’

Kate Tecku Field ’10 pitches The Kombucha Shop to potential investors on ABC’s popular reality show Shark Tank.

St. Olaf College alumna Kate Tecku Field ’10 pitched her business venture, The Kombucha Shop, on a recent episode of ABC’s popular reality show Shark Tank.

The show invites entrepreneurs to pitch their business ideas to a panel of well-known “shark” investors who then decide whether to invest as business partners. Field asked the sharks for $350,000 in exchange for 10 percent equity in The Kombucha Shop, which sells kits to brew the fermented tea beverage kombucha at home. Each kit costs $49 and includes the ingredients and equipment to brew the drink, which is made from green or black tea and is known for its health benefits. In a recent profile, the Wisconsin State Journal noted that it’s the No. 1 best-selling kombucha brewing kit in the world.

The sharks bit at the business, and Field accepted a shared deal with shark Barbara Corcoran and guest shark Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx. Watch the full appearance online to see which shark Field turned down — and which famous NBA owner she didn’t even give time to make an offer.

St. Olaf students and alumni will have the opportunity to ask Field about her experience with the sharks in April, when she returns to campus to deliver the keynote address at the annual Ole Cup student entrepreneurial competition. The St. Olaf Piper Center for Vocation and Career hosts the competition, which provides students with the resources to help turn their business idea into reality.

Field has also been an active participant in the Piper Center’s Connections Program in Madison and Washington, D.C. The Connections Program brings students into alumni workplaces across the nation to explore careers and broaden their perspective on what they can do with a liberal arts education.

An environmental studies and political science major at St. Olaf, Field received the college’s Kloeck-Jenson Scholarship for Peace and Justice, which supported her work at the Washington Environmental Council in Seattle.

Just a few years after graduating from St. Olaf, Field founded The Kombucha Shop in a storage closet in Madison, Wisconsin, notes the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The company has done $3.2 million in sales, and this year is on track to do $1.6-$1.7 million in sales.