“Is the Starbucks across U.S. 1 still there?” Adam Platzner asked, over the background noise of a New York City street.
Platzner is a partner and co-founder of Dream Water, a zero-calories, all-natural liquid remedy for insomnia.
Before Dream Water, Platzner was a ’Cane who graduated in 2002 with a double major in public relations and political science.
“I lived on the seventh floor of Pearson,” Platzner recalled. “I went over there not too long ago. It was weird to be back.”
After graduating from UM, Platzner worked in corporate advertising for Macy’s, and then became director of fashion advertising at Conde Nast, the magazine publisher behind GQ, Vanity Fair and Vogue.
Platzner also was associated with Mansueto Ventures. Based at 7 World Trade Center in New York City, Mansueto is the parent company of Fast Company and Inc. magazines.
He left Mansueto before joining forces with David Lekach, a UM law graduate, and Vincent Porpiglia to work on Dream Water in 2009.
“David and I had been friends for years,” Platzner said. “Then I met Vincent, who had already started developing Dream Water, and the three of us got together to start marketing it.”
His initial role in the company was as head of sales, marketing, trade relations and investor relations. He helped forge partnerships with some of the largest retailers in the country, including Walgreens, Walmart and CVS, to sell Dream Water in their stores. Platzner is responsible for the fact that Dream Water is on the shelves of 25,000 retail stores across the United States.
They began work on Dream Water in April 2009 and launched it eight months later.
The all-natural sleep aid contains melatonin, L 5-hydroxytryptopnan, reverse osmosis treated water, sodium acid sulfate, natural flavors, sodium citrate, citric acid and stevia. At the close of 2011, the Dream Water team saw sales up 400% over when they started in 2009.
“We launched it, brought it to market, and had it gather a following after a short period of time,” Platzner said. “It’s rare to be involved in something so groundbreaking in the consumer product space. It’s literally a dream opportunity.”
Dream Water was originally launched in Duane Reade drugstores, using New York City as a test market to see how consumers would respond.
After Duane Reade, Walmart was next to pick up Dream Water, followed by a chain-wide deal with Walgreens. Now Dream Water is sold in more than 1,000 airports via Hudson News.
Last spring, Platzner announced that, while he remains a major shareholder in the company, he has chosen to leave the Dream Water operating team to pursue other ventures.
For Platzner, starting a small business has been a one-of-a-kind experience.
“It’s great being a part of an amazing team, building something and watching the fruits of your labor,” Platzner said. “The cool thing about small companies is that you can see how your efforts truly affect every aspect of the business.”