Posted By Adam Fridman
Community Blog / College Drinking Game Turned Entrepreneurial Success
It’s a simple game: across a table, two teams line up ten cups, bowling-pin style, fill each cup with some beer, and take turns shooting a ping pong ball into the cups to make their opponents drink. The team that makes their competitors finish their beers first wins. Sounds like a blast. A favorite of college kids, to be sure, but just as much fun for the big kids to play. Why keep it to the fraternity house?
Jerry Piscitelli and Sal Laudano had a ball playing Beer Pong in college and when it came to family vacations, wanted to keep the fun alive. These two childhood friends, in a quest to stay creative with their drinking games, figured they’d take Pong to the pool. But how? There with nothing available online. Not even a makeshift version to keep their cups balanced in the water. After some failed attempts to fashion a Beer Pong table by drilling holes into pool noodles, and a couple of beers in, these friends decided to actually take the plunge. This wasn’t just an idea of inebriation. This was a market for business.
In 2007, Piscitelli and Laudano set to work. Piscitelli, a graphic and web designer, used the idea of an air mattress and started designing a product to stay afloat in a pool and keep cups in place. With their experience in social media and web design, the entrepreneurs not only had a product that people wanted, but also had the skills to get their business idea some great publicity. PORTOPONG took off with a bang and they haven’t looked back since.
So who is buying PORTOPONG? Surprisingly, college kids are not the biggest customers. “The stereotype is, yeah, it’s the college kids, that’s who you’re marketing to,” says Piscitelli. “But our true demographic actually is people who’ve graduated college, who used to play beer pong and loved it. They got their first apartment and have a pool, got a condo, go boating, go tailgating and camping, go on vacation…people with income. People with intentions of remembering the good old days.” Not to mention it makes a fantastic joke gift for a wedding.
Now with customers as far away as Canada, the United Kingdom, France and Germany, looks like everyone is gearing up to play some Pong in the pool.
And what’s next for PORTOPONG? “Floating coolers,” says Piscitelli. Who said college kids get to have all the fun?