Journey from UNG Startup to Real Business
A year and a half ago, Opus Affinity was only a dream. Sitting at home with his father, Caleb and Mike Hearn started an idea off of the question; What if we could take this wine, and have our own story on it? This quickly snowballed into a fleshed idea that Caleb then took into his first entrepreneurship class at UNG. Although the class began with a simple proof of concept of the idea, it quickly streamlined into customer validation, market research, and eventual market entry. Through the college’s built three class program, Caleb grew his entrepreneurial mindset, and Opus Affinity grew into a tangible business. After Caleb finished the program, Samuel Herrera, a colleague from the same program, joined onto the team as Chief Operating Officer.
After Sam joined, the company took a big step towards real business, and began building real research, numbers, and business plans. The first real and credible step began when Etowah Meadery joined as the company’s first startup partner, and provided a credible way for Opus to go forward, and showed enormous interest in our company. With this strive, we went straight into UNG’s first annual pitch competition InnovateUNG, and managed to take first place out of six teams. This provided immense feedback, networking opportunities, funding, and a chance to go forward to compete in Georgia’s state competition, Inventure, with a grand prize of $25,000. Winning this competition was no small feat, and provided Opus with a real credible success and press to catapult forward.
By starting up out of UNG’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the business college’s eLab, Opus Affinity has afforded numerous opportunities. Along with winning the college’s first annual pitch competition, the company has also gained new opportunities with additional pitch competitions, tremendous networking, funding, and resources from the college that has ramped the business forward and opened up numerous doors. Without UNG’s resources and support, Opus Affinity’s success so far could not have been achieved as quickly as it has, and the mentors and marketing capability we have gained would have been unobtainable at the startup level. It is with great pride that Opus Affinity goes forward to represent UNG both in competition and in business, and that our team comes from an accomplished and impressive Mike Cottrell College of Business.
If you would like to learn more about UNG’s entrepreneurship program, please visit https://ung.edu/center-entrepreneurship-innovation/index.php to learn more!
(Pictured are Sam Herrera COO, and Caleb Hearn CEO/Founder)